Blame game a disgrace?

Two people were murdered by a terrorist on London Bridge

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Are politicians making political capital out of the London Bridge attacks?

By Joe Harker

The London Bridge terror attack saw a 28 year old convicted terrorist murder Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23.

They were stabbed to death by a man who had been attending a prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday, November 29.

Families of the victims and members of the public have paid tributes to Merritt and Jones, but politicians have attracted criticism for appearing to use the deaths to push their agenda.

The Claim:

Prime minister Boris Johnson was accused of making a "distasteful" attempt to make an election issue out of the attack.

The family of one of the victims plead for their son's death not to be used as an opportunity for politicians to score points but Johnson's comments of "a lefty government" being responsible for the attacker being freed have been seen as such.

The Conservatives have promised to end the early release of people convicted of terror offences and accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being unable to keep the public safe.

David Merritt, father of Jack, asked Johnson not to use his son's death "to promote your vile propaganda", saying "Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance".

The prime minister had been claiming that his proposed changes to the justice system would have prevented the attack. His claims have been seen as a poor attempt to use a tragedy in which two young people with bright futures lost their lives to prove his point, against the expressed wishes of the victim's family.

The Counter Claim:

Law and crime expert Dr David Lowe said politics needed to be taken out of the aftermath of the attack.

A political blame game helps nobody and brushes aside the loss of innocent life in favour of point scoring.

He said with two innocents dead and a third critically injured the time for political point scoring was certainly not now.

Dr Lowe said a review of crime, punishment and rehabilitation was needed, but it had to be a collaborative effort with politicians across the spectrum contributing rather than a singular party effort tinged with the motive of proving they have the best plan to counteract terrorism.

Two people are dead and a third is critically injured, it is absolutely not the time to pontificate on party policy or use it as an opportunity to attack political opponents.

The Facts:

The attacker was shot dead by police. He had been imprisoned for terrorism offences and released in December 2018. He was on the highest level of community monitoring.

A 2017 terror attack in London Bridge killed eight people and injured 48 more when three men drove into pedestrians then stabbed other victims.

On November 4 the UK's terror level was downgraded from "severe" to "substantial", meaning terrorist attacks are considered "likely" rather than "highly likely.

The terror level in the UK is reviewed every six months.

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