rain.png
Thursday February 27th, 2020 9:20AM

UK attack now political football as Johnson, Corbyn spar

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s political leaders sparred Sunday over who is responsible for the early release of a convicted extremist who launched a stabbing attack in central London that left two dead and injured three.

After a one-day pause out of respect for victims, Friday’s attack is dominating the political scene as the Dec. 12 election nears, shifting the focus, at least for the moment, from Brexit and the National Health Service to issues of security and criminal justice.

The argument centers over the early release from prison of Usman Khan, who served roughly half his sentence before being set free. He was able to stab five people before being shot dead by police despite conditions imposed on his release that were supposed to protect public safety.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, portraying himself as tough on crime, on Sunday blamed Khan’s freedom on changes in sentencing rules made by the last Labour Party government before Johnson’s Conservatives took power in 2010. He promised to toughen sentencing laws.

“I think it is repulsive that individuals as dangerous as this man should be allowed out after serving only eight years and that's why we are going to change the law,” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Marr repeatedly challenged the prime minister by pointing out that the Conservatives had been in power for nearly a decade and not taken any steps to change the situation Johnson was complaining about.

The accuracy of Johnson’s claim was challenged by Ed Davey, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, who told Sky News that the prime minister was misleading the public about the current law regarding the early release of prisoners.

"Either he's incompetent and doesn't know the law, or he's deliberately misleading people when we've got a tragedy on our hands, and I'm afraid, either way, it does not look good for the prime minister,” Davey said.

He said Johnson has a track record of misleading the public on this and other matters, including Brexit: “I'm really alarmed that we are on the brink of having a prime minister who is the most untruthful prime minister of all time.”

Regardless of who is to blame, it is clear that setting Khan free before his sentence was concluded put the public at risk at a time when the official terrorism threat level had recently been lowered because of a perceived reduction in the risk of jihadis returning from Syria to Britain to launch attacks.

The Ministry of Justice has begun an urgent review of cases like Khan’s that might pose a threat, including a review of the conditions governing the movements of every convicted terrorist who has been released from prison.

Officials say about 74 people fit this category. Conditions typically including the wearing of an electronic device that allows police to track a person’s movements, a curfew, limitations on internet use and smartphone use, and reporting on a regular basis to police.

Police have said that Khan appears to have been in compliance with the conditions governing his release, which weren’t made public, but nonetheless was able to carry out a deadly assault that didn’t rely on sophisticated weaponry or detonation of an explosive device.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Conservatives of trying to provide security “on the cheap” and said he doesn’t necessarily agree that all terrorist prisoners should be required to serve their full terms.

He said it depends on the circumstances and called for the Parole Board and the probation service to be more actively involved.

Johnson’s Conservatives quickly tried to capitalize on Corbyn’s statement in a clear indication that the extremist attack is now fair game for political brinksmanship.

The party tweeted a promise — “We will change the law so terrorists serve every single day of their sentence” — along with a warning about Corbyn’s opposition to this plan.

“Who do you trust to keep you safe?” it asks.

___

Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Albania calls for international help to recover from quake
Albania’s prime minister has called on the international community for financial and human resources aid to recover from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed 51 persons and left thousands of damaged homes
6:00AM ( 15 minutes ago )
UK attack now political football as Johnson, Corbyn spar
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and challenger Jeremy Corbyn are sparring over who is responsible for the early release of a convicted extremist who launched a stabbing attack in central London that left two dead
5:45AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Focus on early release of terror convict in London stabbings
Focus on early release of terror convict in London stabbings
5:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Relic thought to be from Jesus’ manger arrives in Bethlehem
A tiny wooden relic some Christians believe to have been part of Jesus' manger has returned to its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope
12:30AM ( 5 hours ago )
At least 14 dead in Mexico gunbattle near Texas border
At least 14 people died after Mexican security forces engaged in an hour-long gun battle with suspected cartel gunmen in the town of Villa Unión, in the state of Coahuila, about an hour’s drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas
12:27AM ( 5 hours ago )
Londoners a reminder of how ordinary people can fight back
The London residents who used a fire extinguisher and even a 5-foot narwhal tusk to fight back against an attacker who stabbed two people to death and wounded three others are a reminder of ordinary people who take extraordinary actions to save others
11:56PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP World News
Albania calls for international help to recover from quake
Albania’s prime minister has called on the international community for financial and human resources aid to recover from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed 51 persons and left thousands of damaged homes
6:00AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Focus on early release of terror convict in London stabbings
Focus on early release of terror convict in London stabbings
5:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
Thousands march to up pressure on Hong Kong government
Pro-democracy protesters are renewing pressure on the Hong Kong government with three marches Sunday
5:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Paradise’s dream football season ends 1 year after fire
A Northern California community is rallying around its local high school football team after it lost a championship game one year after a deadly wildfire destroyed most of the town.
3:13AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Source: Rutgers, former coach Schiano agree to reunion
Greg Schiano and Rutgers have agreed to a deal that will bring the former Scarlet Knights coach back to lead the program, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press
2:42AM ( 3 hours ago )