Uncertain UK poll in wake of terror attack
LONDON: The police investigation into London’s latest terror attack intensified yesterday as politicians officially resumed campaigning ahead of an unpredictable election that sees Britons go to the polls in just two days.
Police carried out early morning raids at addresses in Newham and Barking – both in east London that they said were connected to Saturday night’s London Bridge attack that killed seven people and injured dozens more, including four police officers.
The assailants have not yet been named, but police say they know their identities.
Speaking on the BBC, London police chief Cressida Dick said the majority of recent attacks have had a “domestic centre of gravity” although with some of them there are “undoubtedly international dimensions”.
Christine Archibald, 30, a Canadian from the western province of British Columbia, was the first victim to be named. The 30-year-old had previously worked at a homeless shelter in Calgary before moving to Europe to live with her fiance.
“Please honour her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labour or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you,” her family said.
On Sunday night, tens of thousands attended an Ariana Grande benefit concert that was originally intended to honour the dead from last month’s suicide bombing in Manchester but was expanded to recognise the latest victims in London.
Following the May 22 attack in Manchester, Saturday night’s vanand-knife rampage was the second mass-casualty attack to intrude on the homestretch of a parliamentary campaign that was once thought certain to end in a landslide for Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservatives. The race has tightened in recent weeks, and terrorism has introduced an unexpected variable.
Rival party leaders lashed out at one another. With her premiership on the line, May took an aggressive and combative tone, telling the nation that “enough is enough” and insisting there is “far too much tolerance for extremism in our country”.
“Things need to change,” May said in a speech outside the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. She blamed the attack on the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism”, called for a thorough review of the nation’s counter-terrorism policies and suggested she will take a much tougher line if she wins Thursday’s vote.
The speech was criticised by the opposition Labour Party as a thinly veiled jab at their far-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, whom May has often accused of coddling anti-Western militants. May, Corbyn’s backers said, had politicised the attack.
But Corbyn hit back with his own political response to the killing, accusing May and her Conservative allies of weakening security services through years of austerity.
Members of the public visit floral tributes near London Bridge yesterday in the aftermath of an attack in the British capital. At least seven members of the public were killed and dozens injured after three attackers ploughed a van into pedestrians and later randomly stabbed people on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market on Saturday.