Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday he would strengthen prison sentences, vowing to boost security after an attack in the British capital by a man convicted of terrorism who was released early from prison.
With less than two weeks before Britain heads to the polls, law and order has raced to the top of the election agenda after Usman Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest and wielding knives, killed two people on Friday before being shot dead by police.
Johnson’s Conservatives have championed tough police and prison measures, but opponents have criticized the governing party for overseeing almost a decade of cuts to public services.
Johnson said if he won the Dec. 12 election he would invest more money in the prison system and make sentences tougher.
“We are going to bring in tougher sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders and for terrorists,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
“I absolutely deplore the fact that this man was out on the street, I think it was absolutely repulsive and we are going to take action.”
He was keen to portray his rival for prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, as being weak on crime, blaming the Labour Party for bringing in a law that automatically released some prisoners early when it was in government more than a decade ago.
Johnson said there were probably about 74 people convicted of serious offences who had been released under the legislation, adding that they were being monitored to ensure there was no threat to the public.More in Home
Corbyn, a veteran peace campaigner, said he believed convicted terrorists should “not necessarily” serve their full prison terms.
“It depends on the circumstances, it depends on the sentence, but crucially it depends on what they’ve done in the prison,” he told Sky News.
Corbyn said Conservative cuts to community policing, the probation service, mental health, and youth and social services could “lead to missed chances to intervene in the lives of people who go on to commit inexcusable acts”.
“You can’t keep people safe on the cheap,” he said in a speech on Sunday.