UK general election 2019: Senior politicians clash on security after London Bridge stabbing

UK general election 2019: Senior politicians clash on security after London Bridge stabbing
Copyright REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
Copyright REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
By Lauren Chadwick
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Several UK politicians showed up on a debate stage on Friday night hours after a convicted terrorist killed two people in London.


British politicians took to a debate stage in Cardiff just hours after a convicted terrorist killed two people on the London Bridge.

Seven UK parties were represented during a debate that aired on the BBC just 13 days ahead of the general election.

Many politicians started their statements with a tribute to the victims of and responders to the London Bridge stabbing but also talked about their concerns about security policy.

"This was an extreme event, but we can't ignore that over the recent years, especially the last five years we've seen increases in violent crime right across the country," said shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey who was representing the Labour Party in the debate.

"At the same time since 2010, we've seen 20,000 police officers cut from frontline services so it's right to recognise that that would have a direct impact and of course we've got to invest more in community neighbourhood policing and Labour has pledged to do that," she added.

The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon brought it back to Brexit, saying that Britain needed to "keep access to the best intelligence".

"This is one of many reasons that I think leaving the European Union is a mistake... no amount of police officers can prevent every terrorist attack," Sturgeon said, adding that she also believed in increasing police.

Caroline Lucas, from the Green Party, suggested taking another look at the UK's Prevent counter-extremism programme.

Clashes on Brexit

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson called the Brexit process "a mess" as she defended her position in favour of a second referendum.

"We are so not far along on this Brexit journey. You know the idea that Brexit is going to be done, we're like in episode one-of-a-ten-season box set, and if you don't like what you've seen till now, you don't have to watch the rest," Swinson said.

Many UK politicians agreed that the timeline for Brexit would continue to drag on.

"We can't just get Brexit done. It's going to take years to make a new trade agreement," the Green Party's Lucas said.

Sturgeon said that "get Brexit done" was the biggest con of the election and told the Brexit Party's Richard Tice that people didn't trust him.

Tice said Sturgeon was ignoring people who voted to Leave.

Rishi Sunak, chief secretary of the Treasury, represented the Conservative party on the debate stage and reiterated Prime Minister Boris Johnson's words on Brexit.

"People said we couldn't get a deal. We have got a deal, and it's ready to go," Sunak said, denying that it would take years to leave the EU.

Long-Bailey said the current deal was "economically bad" and would lead to "elongated trade talks". She said she supported Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's "neutral stance".

But Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price countered that Corbyn was one of the reasons people don't have faith in politicians.


"No wonder people don't have faith in politicians when the leader of the Labour party, the candidate to be prime minister won't even tell us where he stands on this question that's going to cast its shadow for a generation," Price said.

The party representatives also argued about the National Health Service (NHS) and taxes, with Conservative and Brexit party representatives saying others were "scaremongering" and talking up a "conspiracy theory" for stating that Conservatives would sell the NHS in US trade talks.

Documents released by the Labour party this past week show US interest in pharmaceutical prices in working trade discussions.

Johnson has said the NHS is "not on the table in any way."

Read more:


UK election fact check: Is Britain's NHS up for sale?

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