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May says she will change human rights laws to fight terrorism

Speaking last night ahead of tomorrow’s general election, May framed the vote as a vote for the security of the country.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

UK PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has vowed to change the laws in order to fight terrorism – even if it strips back human rights.

Speaking last night ahead of tomorrow’s general election, May framed the vote as a vote for the security of the country. The vote comes in the wake of three terror attacks on the country in the last three months.

But the attacks have raised awkward questions about May’s own record in government. Opponents have lambasted her for cutting police numbers by 20,000 when she was Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016. She also was responsible for security services that failed to keep tabs on Khuram Butt, one of three men who went on a vehicle-and-knife rampage around London Bridge on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was a very public Islamic radical who had appeared on a TV documentary titled The Jihadis Next Door. Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism chief, Mark Rowley, said Butt was investigated by officers in 2015 but they found no evidence he was planning an attack and he was “prioritised in the lower echelons of our investigative work.”

May insisted yesterday that her government had “protected the counterterrorism policing budget,” increased the number of armed police officers (after several years when it fell) and funded the intelligence services to hire 1,900 more staff.

She vowed to crack down on terrorism suspects if she wins the election — “and if our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it.”

Critics accused May of posturing. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city would lose thousands more police officers under Conservative plans to trim spending.

“Cuts on this scale would make it harder to foil future terrorist attacks on our city,” Khan said.

With Associated Press reporting

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