Jeremy Corbyn calls on Theresa May to resign over police cuts
The Labour leader’s comments came as Mrs May’s record as home secretary, when police numbers fell by almost 20,000, was under the spotlight following the second terror attack during the election period.
She sought to turn attention back to Brexit with a personal attack on the Labour leader’s fitness to represent the country at the forthcoming negotiations with Brussels.
Mr Corbyn conceded that Thursday’s General Election was “perhaps the best opportunity” to remove the PM from her post, but, asked by ITV News if he backed calls for Mrs May to resign, he said: “Indeed I would, because there’s been calls made by a lot of very responsible people on this who are very worried that she was at the Home Office for all this time, presided over these cuts in police numbers and is now saying that we have a problem - yes, we do have a problem, we should never have cut the police numbers.”
His comments came after Steve Hilton, a former adviser to David Cameron in Number 10, said Mrs May was “responsible for security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge” and “should be resigning, not seeking re-election”.
The Prime Minister used a campaign speech in London to focus on Brexit and the economy, but was repeatedly pressed over whether she would reverse the cuts to police numbers since 2010.
Mrs May said that since 2015 police budgets had been protected “despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench suggested that police budgets should be cut by up to 10%”.
“Jeremy Corbyn has boasted that he has opposed those powers and opposed the powers for anti-terror actions throughout his time in parliament.
“And I also support, absolutely, shoot-to-kill and I think what we saw on our streets on Saturday was how important that was.”
In her speech, Mrs May insisted that Brexit “remains the most critical issue in this campaign” and “the question of leadership” was at the heart of the contest.
She said Mr Corbyn was “not fit to negotiate a good Brexit deal for Britain”.
In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, where she had launched her campaign for the Tory leadership just under a year ago, she said: “Jeremy Corbyn seems to think that any deal - no matter what the price, no matter what the terms - is better than no deal.
“That’s not leadership. That’s an abdication of leadership.
“The bureaucrats in Brussels would think Christmas had come early if the British government adopted such an approach.”
She also hit out at Mr Corbyn’s economic plans, claiming they would mean “punishing” families and businesses.
The business tax plan was “not leadership” and while it made “a good soundbite for an election” it would be “a disastrous policy for our country”.