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Manchester bombing: Theresa May 'partly to blame for terror attack', claim Ukip

Paul Nuttall launches his party's General Election manifesto (PA)
Paul Nuttall launches his party’s General Election manifesto (PA)

You wouldn’t expect the launch of Ukip’s general election manifesto to go off without hitch. And it didn’t.

The party had already been heavily criticised for breaking the pause in campaigning following the Manchester bombing a day before everyone else.

The leader, Paul Nuttall, had also been forced to insist his party wasn’t racist.

And the event itself was overshadowed by claims from the party’s deputy chairwoman that Theresa May “must bear some responsibility” for the terror attack in Manchester – before she completely contradicted herself a minute later.

Suzanne Evans said all politicians should bear some responsibility for Monday’s bombing having voted in favour of cuts to things like policing – including the Prime Minister.

However, moments later Ms Evans appeared to contradict herself when she said Mrs May did not bear responsibility for Monday’s attack, saying that only the terrorists were responsible.

Theresa May writes a message of support at Manchester Town Hall after the attack 9PA)
Theresa May writes a message of support at Manchester Town Hall after the attack (PA)

In terms of policy, the most controversial pledges include:

  • Ban wearing the niqab and burqa in public places

  • Reinstate the blue British passport when the contract comes up for renewal in 2019

  • Reduce the number of pubs, clubs and bars and crack down on relaxed opening hours

  • Avoid British involvement in foreign conflicts.

  • Repeal the Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro

Launching Ukip’s manifesto, Ms Evans was asked what the point was of listing Mrs May’s failures as home secretary if it was not to suggest she should bear some responsibility for the security failings which led to the Manchester attacks.

Ukip had come under fire for publishing their policies the day before campaigning for the election was due to restart following the bombing.

Ms Evans, speaking during a question and answer session after the manifesto launch, replied: “I think she (Mrs May) must bear some responsibility – all politicians who voted against measures or voted for measures to make cuts bear some responsibility.

“As I said, I think when 9/11 happened we should have had a serious rethink about immigration, it didn’t happen.

Read more: Could Ukip detain suspects without trial?

“Of course the European Union is equally culpable as well and I also lay a lot of blame at the feet of the commissioners as well.”

Ms Evans said the primary focus of any government and politician has to be to keep people safe.

She added: “Frankly, if they’re not prepared to stand up and do what needs to be done to keep people safe then they’re simply not fit to govern.

“I stand by what I say.”

Mr Nuttall with Suzanne Evans
Mr Nuttall with Suzanne Evans

Only a minute after these comments, Ms Evans appeared to backtrack when she was pressed by a journalist.

She said: “I didn’t say she must bear, no, I didn’t say what she must bear some responsibility for.

“The only person who is responsible, or people who were responsible, for what happened in Manchester are the terrorists, let me make that absolutely clear.

“I think sometimes we are perhaps a little bit too quick to blame other people but the terrorists in these situations.

“But the circumstances that allowed them their ideology to breed, that allowed their hatred to spread, politicians should have taken action on that long ago.

“Once again, my worry is that we have this horrific, horrific atrocity, and yet in a couple of weeks’ time it will all be forgotten about and those families won’t forget – those families will still be grieving.

“But my worry is the politicians will move on and nothing will change.”