Terrorism becomes battleground between May, Corbyn as election campaign resumes

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a campaign event in York, May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON, June 5 (Xinhua) — Terrorism and cuts in police budgets dominated electioneering Monday as party leaders resumed campaigning following the weekend attack on London Bridge.

Prime Minister Theresa May and her main rival, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, both focused on security in a bid to convince Britain’s 46 million voters to support them Thursday.

Corbyn said Theresa May should pay a price in the general election for ignoring repeated warnings not to cut police numbers.

He accused May over a presiding over a 19,000 fall in police numbers when she served as Home Secretary before becoming prime minister a year ago.

Although Corbyn himself did not call on May to quit following the London and Manchester terror attacks, he said he agreed with those calling on her to resign.

One of those calling on May to resign was Steve Hilton who worked as an advisor to David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister who quit the day after Britain voted in last June’s referendum to leave the European Union. Cameron was succeeded at 10 Downing Street by May.

Earlier Monday, May chaired a meeting of Britain’s main national emergency committee, Cobra. Later she defended her record saying she had protected the number of counter-terror police officers.

Speaking in London, May said she would tackle the whole spectrum of extremism, adding that action was needed in communities and on social media sites to ensure bigotry and hatred did not turn to violence.

May also defended her record on security and police funding, and is now providing funding to increase the number of armed officers, as well as was protecting funding for the police service nationally.

She repeated her message later at an election rally in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh illustrating her tough stance towards terrorism by saying she backed the “shoot to key” policy, saying the gunning down of the 3 London Bridge terrorists within eight minutes had saved countless lives.

Corbyn responded by saying the government’s decision to cut police numbers by 19,000 between 2010 and 2016 was now coming back to haunt May.

In response to the recent wave of terror attacks Corbyn said: “We are not going to allow them to dictate how we live or how we go about enjoying themselves. We carry on and our democracy will prevail.”

The latest significant opinion poll published Monday by ICM gave May’s Conservatives an 11-lead over Labor who narrowed the gap by just one point since a corresponding poll last week. YouGov have given the Conservatives a narrower 4 point lead over Labor.

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