Prime Minister Theresa May has said this week’s General Election will go ahead, despite calls for it to be postponed in the wake of Saturday’s terror attack in the capital.
In a statement delivered outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said: “As a mark of respect, two political parties have suspended our national campaigns for today.
“But violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the General Election will go ahead as planned on Thursday.
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As a country, our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence. We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.”
The Prime Minister, who had chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, warned that Britain is in the grip of a spate of copycat terror attacks, saying that although there was no direct link between the three incidents, “terrorism breeds terrorism”.
The major political parties suspended national campaigning for the election for the second time in a matter of weeks, but Ukip broke ranks by refusing to suspend its General Election campaign, with leader Paul Nuttall warning that stalling the democratic process could lead to more attacks.
Mrs May also faced calls to cancel the election, due on June 8, in the wake of the second terror attack in the UK in the same number of weeks.
Chris Cook, writing on Twitter, said: “We need to cancel or postpone this election.
“It is impossible to have an unbiased campaign when our news is being dominated by terrorism.”
Roy Shepherdson added: “The General Election IS the target. Can’t let them win. Postpone it a week.”
And Nick Applewhite said: “Something must be done to postpone election. Third attack in three months is horrifying.”
But many had argued the election should go ahead as planned, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan who said it was important the vote went ahead to show Britain would never be “cowed” by terror.
Mr Khan said: “Elections are a wonderful thing and that’s one of the things that these terrorists hate and one of the things that we can do to show we’re not going to be cowed is by voting on Thursday and making sure that we understand the importance of our democracy, our civil liberties, and our human rights.”
Conservative former foreign minister Alistair Burt said: “We don’t have a Parliament or MPs at present. If there’s no General Election, when would we get one?
“Must carry on. Parliament must be the national forum to decide response. We cannot live by incident and reaction via vox pop and social media.”
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: “We cannot suspend the campaign and normal life indefinitely. We want real action from our leaders, not more hand-wringing.”
In 2001, Tony Blair had to postpone an entire election by a month because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.