london-bridge-attack:-boris-johnson’s-language-‘wrong-after-deaths’

London Bridge attack: Boris Johnson’s language ‘wrong after deaths’


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Media captionBoris Johnson says about 74 convicted terrorists have been released early from prison

Boris Johnson was “wrong” to use the language he did after the London Bridge terror attack, a Welsh Conservative election candidate has said.

Two people were killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan on Friday.

The prime minister blamed Khan’s early release from jail on legislation introduced by a “leftie government”.

Welsh Conservative election candidate Fay Jones said the prime minister should not have used the terrorist incident “as a political exercise”.

After Mr Johnson called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release, David Merritt – whose son Jack was one of the victims – said he would not wish his death “to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences”.

Speaking in the BBC Wales Live election debate in Wrexham on Tuesday, Ms Jones said: “I don’t think the prime minister or anybody should be using this as a political exercise.”

Asked if Mr Johnson was wrong, she replied: “Yes, he was.”

Mr Johnson has denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.

“I feel, as everybody does, a huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt’s family, and indeed for all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, who perished at London Bridge,” he said.

“But be in no doubt, I’ve campaigned against early release and against short sentences for many years.”

Khan had served half of his sentence and the prime minister claimed scrapping early release would have stopped him.

Mr Johnson blamed Khan’s release on legislation introduced under “a leftie government”, insisting the automatic release scheme was introduced by Labour.

However, he has been challenged about what the Conservatives had done to change the law over the past 10 years in government.

Image caption Fay Jones: “I think we need to focus on what we do next”

The prime minister later denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.

“I feel, as everybody does, a huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt’s family, and indeed for all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, who perished at London Bridge,” he said.

“But be in no doubt, I’ve campaigned against early release and against short sentences for many years.”

Labour’s David Hanson, a former policing and counter-terrorism minister, said the police had struggled following a reduction in the number of officers and he had concerns about the probation service.

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