UK Independence Party (UKIP) deputy chair Suzanne Evans speaks at the launch of the party’s general election manifesto in central London on May 25, 2017. Britain goes to the polls on June 8 to elect a new parliament in a general election. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
British Prime Minister Theresa May “must bear some responsibility” for the terror attack in Manchester this week due to policing budget cuts, the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party said on Thursday.
“I think she must bear some responsibility. All politicians who… voted for measures to make cuts bear some responsibility,” Suzanne Evans said at the party’s manifesto launch.
May was Britain’s interior minister for six years before coming to power last year after David Cameron’s resignation in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
She has previously come under heavy criticism for the cuts made in the years following the financial crisis.
May said the perpetrator Salman Abedi, who was of Libyan origin, was known to security services and the issue of why the attack was not prevented is becoming a major topic as the campaign resumes ahead of a June 8 general election.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday said British authorities “face questions over multiple Manchester attacker warnings that failed to lead to action”.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who urged a crackdown on immigration and tighter security following Monday’s attack, said: “Politicians in this country have been weak on this issue for many, many years.
“In terms of her record as home secretary I think it’s appalling. This is a home secretary who cut the numbers of police officers, cut the number of border guards, cut the number of prison officers.”
“As for blaming her personally for the attack — absolutely not, I’m not doing that. What I’m saying is the politicians in this country are too cowardly at the moment to actually face up to what the real Britain is,” he said.
Nuttall said the party wanted net migration — estimated to be 248,000 last year — to be brought down to zero within the next five years.
Evans said immigrants would no longer be allowed to access the state-run National Health Service.
The party has been trailing behind the governing Conservatives, the main opposition Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats in the polls.
It was also trounced in local elections last month, with experts pointing out that the Conservatives were hoovering up votes from former UKIP supporters following last year’s Brexit referendum.
UKIP was set up in the 1990s to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.