PM Boris Johnson has been accused of making “political capital out of tragedy” after he ignored pleas by victim Jack Merritt’s father, and tried to blame Labour for the release of the terrorist who stabbed two people to death in the London Bridge Terror Attack.
Johnson said there were “probably about 74” convicted terrorists who had now been freed, saying these would be “properly invigilated to make sure there is no threat”.
Jack Merritt’s father who paid tribute to his “beautiful, talented boy” on Saturday considered this as a “distasteful” attempt to use the attack in the upcoming election and asked politicians not to use the “terrible, isolated incident”.
Cambridge graduate Jack, 25, was fatally stabbed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan while working as a co-coordinator at a conference on prisoner rehabilitation, hosted by the Learning Together scheme at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge. Cambridge student and Learning Together volunteer Saskia Jones, 23, was also killed.
David Merritt said his son died “doing what he loved”, but appealed for his death not to be used to justify introducing “even more draconian sentences” on offenders.
A family statement said: “We know Jack would not want this terrible, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary.”
By that time, the prime minister had already written an article setting out a new tougher stance in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, under the headline: “Give me a majority and I’ll keep you safe from terror”. Britain goes to the polls in less than two weeks.
Mr Merritt accused the Mail of using his son’s death to promote “vile propaganda”.
Mr Merritt tweeted: “Don’t use my son’s death, and his and his colleague’s photos – to promote your vile propaganda. Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance.”
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