“You cannot protect the public on the cheap” – Corbyn speech on terror attacks

Jeremy Corbyn

This is the full speech delivered in Carlisle tonight by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“After the horrific events last night in London in which seven people have died and 21 remain in a critical condition, I would like to start by asking everyone to stand with me for a minute’s silence.

“Tonight we are once again meeting in the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity, and returning to the election campaign in shock and anger at the brutality and horror that was perpetrated on the streets of London last night.

“Let me start by repeating what I said this morning sentiments I know are shared by all of us across our country.

“This was an appalling terrorist atrocity committed by those warped by a depraved inhumanity. We have to stand together, united and determined in our communities, as the people of Manchester less than two weeks ago.

“We all express our love and solidarity to the families and friends of those who have died, and of those who have been so grievously injured, and though we find it difficult to fully imagine their pain, we feel for them, we are with them, and we grieve for those who have died.

“We pay tribute to the Ambulance Service and the Fire & Rescue Service, for their bravery and professionalism.

“And especially to the Police and British Transport Police.  They acted quickly and decisively to save lives, their professionalism was again exemplary.

“And also our magnificent NHS staff, who are still working now to save lives and heal the injured.

“And let us express our admiration too for those members of the public who put themselves in danger to assist and protect others even to the extent of confronting the murderous attackers.

“As in Manchester last month, their actions represent not just the best of Britain they represent normal, decent Britain, the quiet courage and compassion that will always defeat fear and hatred.

“Those who wish to harm our people divide our communities and attack our democracy will not succeed. Our values of solidarity, humanity and justice will prevail.

“The violence and brutality of last night’s attack, the targeting of innocent people going about their ordinary business is a depravity familiar from similar attacks in Manchester, across Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

“That is why we are ready to consider whatever proposals may be brought forward by the police and security services more effectively to deal with the terrorist threat.

“If Labour is elected I will commission a report from the security services on Friday on the changing nature of the terrorist threat.

“Our priority must be public safety and I will take whatever action is necessary and effective to protect the security of our people and our country that includes full authority for the police to use whatever force is necessary to protect and save life as they did last night as they did in Westminster in March.

“You cannot protect the public on the cheap the police and security services must get the resources they need not 20,000 police cuts.

“Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of “crying wolf.”

“As Labour set out in our manifesto we will recruit another 10,000 new police officers including more armed police who need to be properly rewarded as well as 1,000 more security services staff to support our communities and help keep us safe.

‘But it is the timing of yesterday’s attack that we must also address today the aim of the terrorists is plainly to derail our democracy and disrupt or even halt this election.

“The general election is of course about the democratic choice between the Labour and Conservative parties and our very different visions and plans for the future of our country.

“But it is also now about something even bigger it is about the struggle between terrorism and democracy itself.

“The mass murderers who brought terror to our streets in London and Manchester want our election to be halted, they want democracy halted. They want their violence to overwhelm our right to vote in a fair and peaceful election and to go about our lives freely.

“That is why there can be no doubt that next Thursday’s vote must go ahead. Neither can we suspend our campaigning, so I am glad to be here in Carlisle as scheduled and launching our housing policy with John Healey.

“Across London today, people have been carrying on upset and appalled but carrying on to act otherwise would be to hand the twisted and depraved strategists of ISIS the political victory they crave.

“So it is right that we return to the choices the British people face on June 8 in the sure and certain knowledge that we have together, whatever our party views, already made the choice between democracy and terrorism between freedom and fear.

“The choice you face on 8th June is a Conservative party which has made clear it will press on with another five years of austerity and cuts to essential public services to pay for even more tax handouts to the richest and the big corporations.

“Or the Labour Party, which is guaranteeing 95% of taxpayers will pay no extra tax but is asking the best off and the largest companies to pay a bit more to fund our hospitals, police, schools, decent pensions and childcare to invest in good jobs and a growing economy for the many not the few.

“I don’t hesitate to make the case for more tax from those who can afford it.

“It is taxation that underpins our peaceful, tolerant and civilised society the police, security services, fire and rescue service, our NHS they have all suffered cuts to pay for tax giveaways for the big corporations and the very richest.

“Here in Carlisle you have felt the effects of austerity and that’s why we will increase funding in flood prevention and halt the Sustainability and Transformation Programme that threatens to close hospitals, A&Es and maternity units.

“We are the fifth richest country in the world, it doesn’t have to be like this.

“And that is why the Labour Party will end austerity and lift the public sector pay cap our nurses, firefighters, police, doctors and paramedics deserve a pay rise.  They cannot just get warm words for their heroism, they deserve our respect every day.

“If I am elected Prime Minister on 8 June I will be asking the Commissioners of the Met Police and the British Transport Police for the names of those whose bravery should be commended, to acknowledge their heroism and of many others in our emergency services and among the public who intervened

‘At this time it is more important than ever that we stay united in our communities it is the strength of our communities that gets us through these awful times as London Mayor Sadiq Khan recognised but which the current occupant in the White House has neither the grace nor the sense to grasp.

“Whether we are Muslim or Christian, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, we are united by our values, by our determination for a better world, and that we can build a better society.

‘Our democratic values must be maintained we must resist Islamophobia and division and turnout on 8 June united in our determination to show our democracy is strong, however you vote.

And yes we do need to have some difficult conversations starting with Saudi Arabia and “other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.

“It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis here and in the Middle East.

“No government can prevent every attack sometimes the most depraved and determined will get through but the responsibility of government is to do everything we can to minimise the risk.

“Labour has spent this campaign setting out our detailed plans and costed policies for a fairer and better Britain.

“On 8 June, we have a real to chance to invest and to build a country that reflects the best of us that we saw on the streets of London and Manchester a country that is truly for the many not the few.”

Everything Labour.
Every weekday morning.

By clicking ‘subscribe’ you confirm you have read and agree to our privacy policy

More from LabourList

Donate to fund our journalism


Subscribe to our Daily Email