The Liberal Democrats have suspended a member of staff and have launched an inquiry in relation to claims that evidence was faked to mislead investigators at Open Democracy, the website reports.
Nazir Afzal, former chief crown prosecutor for north-west England, has also weighed in against the prime minister over his comments about the context in which the London Bridge attacker was released
Ian Acheson, a counter terrorism expert who advised ministers on the risks from Islamic extremism in prison, has been adding to his claims in the Sunday Times today that recommendations that might have prevented the London Bridge attack were ignored.
After being asked to do so by Michael Gove in 2015, Acheson and a team visited dozens of prisons at home and abroad, finding “serious deficiencies” in almost every aspect of the management of terrorist offenders through the system that are relevant to Usman Khan, the London Bridge attacker.
Sixty nine recommendations were made, of which 68 were accepted, before being “conflated” into the 11 that made it into an official response to his report.
The public have a fundamental right to be protected, especially from known terrorist offenders, he added, and this must always be the primary consideration of government and the public protection agencies in the criminal justice system.
“I have felt for some time that the balance is out of kilter. I have serious concerns about the appetite of those at the top of the prison and probation service to take the action needed to protect the public and manage the risks.”
He has tweeted today:
However, there are also some interesting observations from a US perspective about the political backdrop to the crisis. Mark Landler writes that it has erupted at a time when Britain’s political leaders, paralyzed by Brexit, are in little position to help.
“Far from steadying the crown, as Prime Minister Tony Blair did when the queen misjudged the public mood after the death of Princess Diana in 1997, today’s politicians are drawing her into their own frantic machinations.”
He adds: “Critics accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of misleading the queen when he asked her to suspend Parliament for a period of weeks, rather than the customary few days, in an effort to curtail parliamentary discussion and action on Brexit. The decision was later declared illegal by Britain’s Supreme Court.
“When the queen presented Mr. Johnson’s legislative agenda just weeks before Mr. Johnson called an election, critics said she was being exploited to deliver a campaign manifesto dressed up as a queen’s speech.”
A meeting of officials in the government’s emergency committee, Cobra, has taken place this afternoon, Downing Street has said.
The prime minister has been updated on the investigation into the London Bridge attack by security officials, a No 10 spokesman added.
It looks particularly busy on the campaign trail today meanwhile.
The Women’s Equality party (WEP), which has sought to place the issue of violence and misogyny against women front and centre in the campaign, has been on the ground in Canterbury to support Labour’s Rosie Duffield, who spoke in parliament in October about her own experience of domestic abuse.
The prime minister’s partner, Carrie Symonds, is out canvassing for Zac Goldsmith in west London:
Alastair Campbell – out canvassing to help re-elect the Labour MP and former minister Pat McFadden – has tweeted some video of the lengths to which he has apparently gone today to secure one vote in particular.
Don’t be alarmed as the camera pans down in the first few seconds:
The Conservatives’ lack of policies on equal rights for LGBT+ voters will not go unnoticed, argues Jonathan Cooper, a lawyer and human rights specialist.
While David Cameron learned from Tony Blair that the LGBT+ vote mattered, Cooper writes in the Guardian: “The lack of any real substance in the Conservative party’s manifesto in relation to LGBT rights suggests the party has either learned nothing from Cameron’s success and May’s blunder or it is supremely confident of its majority and thinks it has no need to court gay people.
“The manifesto makes two references to LGBT people, one to sexual orientation, among a long list of other protected grounds, and no reference to gender identity or trans people.”
No journalist likes to refuse an interview but there was a good reason for the BBC to refuse to play into Boris Johnson’s hands by having him on The Andrew Marr Show today, argues Jane Martinson in the Guardian.
While Johnson has avoided a grilling at the hands of Andrew Neil, she adds that the public interest was hardly served in the wake of the London Bridge attacks by Johnson “filibustering his way out of any answers as though he were a poor contestant on Just a Minute”.
Marr tried his best but even describing Johnson’s refusal to stop talking over him or answering the questions as ‘chuntering’, rather than ‘lying’, felt wrong.
While other recent “cock-ups” at the BBC have already prompted an alarming number of online conspiracy theories and staff morale is low, Martinson warns of a corrosion in public trust.
Read the full piece here.
The Liberal Democrats could not support Labour’s renationalisation plans in the event of a hung parliament, the party’s leader, Jo Swinson, has said.
She described Jeremy Corbyn’s programme as “a distraction” and said the Labour party had “not been clear about how they would pay for it”.
The Liberal Democrat leader added she did not believe renationalisation was “the way forward”.
Asked whether she would support Labour’s plans, she told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics:
“No, I think renationalisation is a distraction. I don’t think it’s a way to deliver better public services and I think it’s taking us away from, actually, how do you make things better for people?”
Pushed for further clarity on whether the Liberal Democrats would block the renationalisation of water, she said: “We don’t think that renationalisation is the way forward.”
Questioned further on whether the Liberal Democrats would veto renationalisation, she said the issue was a “fantasy situation”.
She added: “Nobody is expecting, on the current scenario, that Jeremy Corbyn is getting anywhere near Downing Street and the Liberal Democrats are going to put him there. So the Labour manifesto, it’s a wish list, they cannot deliver it.”
The campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller has called on remain voters to vote tactically in the general election, saying that doing so could prevent a Conservative majority.
Presenting a new poll and MRP seat projection for “Remain United” on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, she said: “With no tactical voting, just based on voter intention at the moment and where the polls are sitting and the difference between the seats, there would be a 12-seat majority for the Conservatives.
“What we’re doing is we’re giving people recommendations and the other polling we did was on tactical voting intentions and what we’re finding is that it is staying stable for about 45% of remain and soft leave voters saying that they intend to tactically vote.”
Woman killed in terror attack was former Cambridge student
A woman who was one of the two people killed in the London Bridge attack was a former Cambridge University student.
The university has released a statement after Jack Merritt, a course coordinator for Learning Together, a programme run by the University of Cambridge’s institute of criminology, was named as the first victim in the London Bridge attack.
In a statement on Sunday, Prof Stephen J Toope, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “I am devastated to learn that among the victims of the London Bridge attack were staff and alumni of the University of Cambridge, taking part in an event to mark five years of the Learning Together programme.
“What should have been a joyous opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this unique and socially transformative programme, hosted by our Institute of Criminology, was instead disrupted by an unspeakable criminal act.
“I am sad beyond words to report that a course co-ordinator, Jack Merritt, was killed, as was a former student not yet named by the Metropolitan police. Among the three people injured, whose identities have not been publicly released, is a member of university staff.
“Our university condemns this abhorrent and senseless act of terror. Our condolences, our thoughts and our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families.”
The medical director for the NHS in London, Dr Vin Diwakar, has meanwhile said that one of the three people injured in the attack had been allowed to return home while the other two remained in a stable condition in hospital.