Less than two weeks before Britain’s important parliamentary elections, candidates are trading blame over Friday’s terrorist attack that killed two people on London Bridge.
British politicians spent the day Monday accusing each other for the security lapse that allowed a convicted terrorist out of prison, who went on a violent rampage with a kitchen knife in the heart of London.
The attacker, Usman Khan, killed 23-year-old Saskia Jones and 25-year-old Jack Merritt and wounded three others Friday before being shot and killed by London police.
Khan had been released from prison after going through a rehabilitation program.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said, “I think these people should never ever be let out of prison unless we are absolutely convinced they do not have the jihadi virus. But, of course, political correctness stops us from doing that.”
Conservative Boris Johnson accused the Labour Party of being soft on terrorism and vowed to end the early release of inmates convicted of terrorist crimes. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn blamed years of cuts to the police, prison and parole services by Conservative governments.
And London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has presided over an explosion of knife crime in the city and who some have linked to Muslim terrorists, was not sounding tough.
“I think the best thing we can do in honor of Jack and Saskia is not by being motivated by hatred and division, but by being motivated by hope, unity, and love,” Mayor Khan said.
Britain has not suffered a major terrorist attack in years, but it does have one of the largest radical Muslim populations in Europe, and so some terrorism experts, were expecting an attack.
The country has endured a number of smaller attacks, though, like the Manchester stabbing of three people less than a year ago on New Year’s Eve. Back in August of 2018, a driver used his car to carry out a terrorist attack in London, mowing down several pedestrians. And the most recent major attack was the suicide bombing that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017.
Meanwhile, the former chairman of the British government’s crisis management task force, retired British Army Colonel Richard Kemp gave us this warning just one month ago.
“The problem is so vast, it is unfortunately only going to be a matter of time before the next attack occurs, because no matter how capable your intelligence services are and your police are and your security agencies, it cannot possibly get a handle on every lone jihadist that is motivated on the Internet or at this mosque to go out and murder our citizens wherever you can find them with whatever weapons he has to hand,” Kemp said.
He says the British government must realize that it can’t use a criminal justice system against terrorists who are at war with it. Something must change.