U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tore into each other’s records on terrorism as the wave of attacks that hit Britain in the past three months dominated the final stage of the election.
May urged voters to choose her “strong” record on dealing with extremism over Corbyn’s “abdication of leadership” on defense while he suggested she should resign over her policy of cutting police budgets.
The premier’s 20-point lead has shrunk as the vote neared, dragging down sterling, as the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London shifted the focus of the contest from Brexit to security. The pound fell on Monday.
May said Corbyn opposed “every single counter-terror law” she introduced as home secretary and failed to support the police policy of “shoot to kill” that was vital to saving lives on Saturday.
Saturday night’s London Bridge attack, which killed seven people and injured almost 50 more, temporarily halted campaigning. But the political truce broke down within hours as Labour and May’s Conservatives went on the offensive.
“That’s not leadership. It’s an abdication of leadership,” May said. “It’s a failure to meet even the minimum requirement of the job of prime minister -– to keep our country safe.”
Campaigning in the northern town of Middlesbrough, Corbyn called on May to resign as prime minister for presiding over cuts in police numbers while she was home secretary.
“There have been calls made by a lot of very responsible people on this who are very worried that she was at the home office for all this time presided over those cuts in police numbers,” Corbyn said. “We’ve got an election on Thursday and that’s perhaps the best opportunity to deal with this.”