Can­di­dates clash as ter­ror at­tack re­shapes elec­tion

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Gre­gory Katz Gre­gory Katz is an Associated Press writer.

LON­DON — Bri­tain’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers sparred Sun­day over re­spon­si­bil­ity 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 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, blamed Khan’s free­dom on changes in sen­tenc­ing rules made by the last La­bor 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 said on the BBC’s An­drew Marr Show on Sun­day.

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

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.

La­bor 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. 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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.