LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday hit back at Tory PM May’s declaration that she will tear up the human rights laws, allegedly to combat terrorism.
Corbyn said: ‘You can’t keep our country safe on the cheap. Theresa May is refusing to put in the resources that are needed. She has slashed funding for the police, our courts system and border force.
‘I will do everything necessary and effective to keep our people safe. We will always keep the law under review, but don’t believe would-be terrorists and suicide bombers will be deterred by longer sentences or restricting our rights at home.
‘The right response to the recent attacks is to halt the Conservative cuts and invest in our police and security services and protect our democratic values, including the Human Rights Act. It is disgraceful that the Conservative government is suppressing its own report into terrorist funding. We will not shy away from the difficult conversations about who funds and supports terrorism.’
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK section, said: ‘Theresa May’s comments are reckless and misinformed. This is exactly the time that human rights must be protected and cherished, not attacked and undermined. Amnesty International will not stand by silently when threats are made to “rip up human rights laws”. Human rights are there to protect all in society – that is just pure common sense.
‘Whoever is in government after the 8 June election must ensure our human rights are protected.’
Speaking to supporters in Tory target seat Slough on Tuesday evening, May said: ‘As we see the threat changing, evolving, becoming a more complex threat, we need to make sure that our police and security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need.
‘I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terrorist suspects back to their own countries. And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court. And if our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it.
‘If I am elected as Prime Minister on Thursday, that work begins on Friday.’
May added that she expects police and security services to launch a review after Saturday’s terrorist attack. The Tories are expected if elected to seek to bring in an internment system of the type that was used in northern Ireland.
Police and MI5 have come under pressure after it emerged one of the attackers, Khuram Butt, 27, had been reported to the anti-terror hotline in 2015, and Moroccan-born Italian attacker Youseff Zaghba was allowed into the UK despite being on a ‘watch list’.
Italian police had caught him trying to fly to Turkey and go on to Syria. He told police ‘I’m going to be a terrorist’ when he was stopped at Bologna airport and they told MI5 and MI6 about him.
• Theresa May was booed and heckled with repeated shouts of ‘vote Labour!’ and ‘end police cuts’ on an early morning trip to London’s Smithfield Market at 5.30am yesterday.
She received the hostile reception as she was joined by her husband Philip for a frantic final day of campaigning across the country. The hecklers repeated ‘vote Labour’ as May beat a retreat.