Theresa May says 'enough is enough' after seven killed in London Bridge attack

Prime minister says there is ‘far too much tolerance of extremism’ in UK and suggests increased jail terms for terrorism offences

London Bridge attacks – live updates

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Theresa May responds to ‘brutal terrorist attack’ in London

Theresa May says ‘enough is enough’ after seven killed in London Bridge attack

Prime minister says there is ‘far too much tolerance of extremism’ in UK and suggests increased jail terms for terrorism offences

London Bridge attacks – live updates


Theresa May has warned that there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK and, promised to step up the fight against Islamist terrorism after the London Bridge attack, saying “enough is enough”.

The prime minister set out plans to crack down on extremism after chairing a meeting of the Cobra committee following the attack in the centre of the capital in which seven people were killed by three attackers.

The statement’s content has concerned senior Labour figures who believe it is a breach of a cross-party agreement to put aside political campaigning and is insensitive to people only just discovering that they have lost loved ones.

In a sombre address outside 10 Downing Street, May said internet companies must not allow extremism a place to exist, but added that there was also a need to tackle “safe spaces in the real world”, which would require “difficult” conversations.

The prime minister also suggested the idea of increased prison terms for terrorism offences, even relatively minor ones.

Islamist militancy was the thread that linked the otherwise unconnected attacks in London Bridge, Westminster and Manchester, she said.

Map of Westminster Bridge and London Bridge attacks

“It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth,” she said. “Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone.”

She continued: “It is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”

May said the recent spate of attacks showed the UK was “experiencing a new trend in the threat we face”.

She continued: “As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.”

Action was needed in the UK as well as overseas, she added. “While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

Aerial view of London Bridge attacks

“So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.

“But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom.”

The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said May’s statement appeared to be a breach of an agreement with Labour to put aside political campaigning until Sunday night.

Thornberry told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend the statement was insensitive to the needs of those who were just becoming aware that their loved ones had died.

She said: “None of the things [May] is proposing in the four-point plan are immediate steps, and so I regret the timing of this. There is an agreement between the parties that there will not be party political campaigning until this evening or tomorrow.

“I think that [what May has said] is drawing us into a debate – I think there is time enough to discuss these issues. To come out on to the steps of 10 Downing Street immediately in the aftermath of a terrible outrage would not be something that would be expected.

“[May] has said ‘enough is enough’. Well I thought enough was enough after 9/11, I thought that enough was enough after 7/7. I didn’t think we should be taking any more of these attacks on our people, we all agree on that.

“We need to do more but we also need to be sensitive to the fact that there are people who are only just discovering that their loved ones have died.”

Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory work and pensions secretary, told the World this Weekend that May would probably try to toughen up terrorism, prevention and investigation measures, known as Tpims. These are the measures introduced by the coalition to place restrictions on people who are suspected of being terrorists but who have not been convicted of an offence.

Duncan Smith said that was one of the things May was referring to when she spoke about toughening anti-terror laws.

Asked on The World This Weekend whether that meant internment, he replied: “I don’t think that is what is on the table. But I think what is on the table is a much tighter view about the way we got about this Tpim stuff. One of the things that I was concerned about in coalition – I know Theresa May was when she was home secretary – was during the coalition the Tpim order that we brought in, which gives those powers, was watered down. And I think it was weakened too much.”

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who was once London’s mayor, also said attitudes had to change, saying: “The wells of tolerance are running empty.”

In a statement, Johnson urged Londoners to “carry on with business as usual”, but said: “To those who sympathise or encourage or harbour or aid or abet these killers – in any way – we say enough is enough. Your time is up.”

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said security services did not believe the attackers were part of a wider plot, which is why the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) had not advised raising the national alert level.

Rudd told ITV’s Peston on Sunday show: “We don’t believe there are additional elements which could be carrying on the attack we saw last night – JTAC, rather, has made that assessment, so they haven’t recommended going to critical.”

May confirmed that the election would not be postponed, saying: “Violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process. So those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday.

“As a country our response must be, as it has always been, when we have been confronted by violence we must come together. We must pull together. And united, we will take on and defeat our enemies.”

She praised the “great courage and great speed” of the police and of other emergency services. “On behalf of the people of London and on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank and pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of the police and the emergency services, and the courage of members of the public who defended themselves and others from the attackers,” she said.

Her comments follow the decision by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats to suspend election campaigning after the attack. The Scottish National party and Greens are also doing this.

It is the second terrorism-related suspension of the campaign. It stopped for three days after the suicide bomb attack in Manchester, on 22 May, which killed 22 people.

Ukip said it would not follow suit. The party’s leader, Paul Nuttall, said such an action would be “precisely what the extremists would want us to do”.

Map of London Bridge attacks

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said his party would resume campaigning on Sunday evening; to delay any longer would obstruct democracy.

He told Sky News: “We won’t be campaigning nationally during today, but we’ll be resuming later on. I think it’s important to give a message that democracy must prevail. If we allow these attacks to disrupt our democratic process then we will all lose.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The election must go ahead as planned. It is right that we suspend our national campaigning for a short while out of respect for those affected by these tragic events, but local campaigning can and must continue.”

Rudd said it was presumed that the three attackers on Saturday night, all of whom were shot dead by police, were “radical Islamist terrorists”, and authorities needed “to find out more about where this radicalisation came from”.

The home secretary said there did not seem to be any link to the Manchester attack in May. But she said she could not comment on whether any of the attackers were previously known to authorities. “The operation is ongoing so we are finding out more about who these three are,” she said.

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