Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.PA Images
LONDON — Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Theresa May to resign as prime minister over cuts to police she oversaw as Home Secretary.
In an extraordinary move, Corbyn told ITV’s Rachel Younger that he backs calls for May to resign from “very responsible people” who are “worried” about her record at national security during her time as Home Secretary, just days before Thursday’s general election.
May’s record as Home Secretary prior to becoming prime minister has been under the spotlight in recent weeks amid claims that her decision to slash the number of police officers on Britain’s streets has made the country less safe.
Watch Corbyn: May should resign as PM:
Questions about police cuts emerged following the terrorist attack that left 22 people dead and over 100 more injured in Manchester two weeks ago. May is facing the same questions today after three terrorists killed seven people in an attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market on Saturday evening.
One-time Community Police Officer of the Year, Damian O’Reilly, made a heartfelt appeal to May two years ago to reverse cuts to local policing which had caused intelligence about possible attacks to dry up.
“I have worked in inner city Manchester for 15 years,” O’Reilly told May at a Police Federation conference in 2015.
“I felt passionate about what I was doing [but] in 2010 I had to leave. I couldn’t take it anymore because the changes that have been imposed have caused community policing to collapse.
“Intelligence has dried up. There aren’t local officers, they don’t know what’s happening. They’re all reactive, there’s no proactive policing locally. That is the reality ma’am.”
Official Home Office figures show that there are nearly 1,300 fewer officers on British streets compared to before the Conservatives got into power seven years ago. There were 6,906 authorised firearm officers on the streets in March 2009. The number was 5,639 in March of this year.
May accused Corbyn of being weak in the fight against terrorism during a speech in central London this morning.