Tories and Labour vie over security ahead of general election


Labour and the Conservatives are facing off over national security, with the Tories highlighting their plans for a counter-extremism commission and Labour pledging to bolster the intelligence agencies.

With the Manchester attack bringing security issues into greater focus ahead of the general election, the two parties are keen to highlight their plans to make Britain’s streets safer.

The Conservatives have proposed a new Commission for Countering Extremism that will have a remit to clamp down on “unacceptable cultural norms” such as female genital mutilation.

Expanding on the manifesto pledge, Prime Minister Theresa May said the body would also act to ensure that women’s rights are upheld in all of Britain’s ethnic and religious communities.

A Conservative government would give the commission teeth by making it a statutory body with a legal responsibility to identify extremism and support people and organisations in resisting it, she said.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has said a Labour government would recruit 1,000 more staff at security and intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to step up efforts to prevent terrorism.

Security is traditionally more the Tories territory, but the Labour leader dismissed Conservative’s claim to be the party of law and order as a “myth”.

He highlighted cuts in the number of security agents, police, prison officers and border guards – moves that have come in under Theresa May and David Cameron.

In Labour’s manifesto, the party pledges to hire 10,000 more police officers, 3,000 more firefighters, 3,000 more prison officers and 500 more border guards.

Mr Corbyn said: “Ensuring the safety of our communities demands properly resourced action across many fronts.

“It means upholding and enforcing our individual rights, promoting community relations, supporting our emergency services, tackling and preventing crime and protecting us from danger, including threats of terror and violence.

“Only a Labour government will meet these challenges.”

The Conservatives dismissed Mr Corbyn’s promise as “unfunded and undeliverable”, saying Labour’s manifesto gave no indication of how they would pay for the measures.


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