A British voter has angrily confronted Home Secretary Amber Rudd over police cuts, prompting her to deny the suicide bombing that killed 22 at a concert in Manchester was linked to falling police numbers.
The exchange highlights how police budgets are set to become a major issue as campaigning for a June 8 election resumes on Friday following a pause after the attack.
“We’re now 20,000 police officers down, and we get atrocities like this. Does the government not expect this?” the voter, who was not named, asked on the BBC on Thursday night.
Rudd said counter-terrorism was adequately resourced and denied the cuts had hindered the authorities’ ability to prevent Monday’s attack.
“I don’t accept that… We must not imply that this terrorist activity wouldn’t have taken place if there had been more policing,” she said.
However, the voter replied: “Well, I think it is about police numbers because it’s low-level intelligence which gives you the information.”
The Labour Party pledged to boost police numbers by 10,000 as it and the governing Conservatives restarted national campaigns on Friday.
Government figures show the number of police officers dropped by 19,000 between 2010, when the Conservatives returned to power as part of a coalition, and 2016.
‘Hearts are broken’
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says “hearts are broken” across America after the bombing, claimed by IS, adding US’ takes full responsibility for the leaking of photos to the media of the crime scene, but its relationship with Britain will withstand the tension.
He said efforts will be intensified to defeat IS on the battlefield.
Manchester attack: Grieving mothers speaks
Gallagher gig for Manchester bomb families
Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher will perform his first-ever gig as a solo artist in Manchester, with profits to be donated to the families of the concert bombing victims.
He announced a string of solo shows on Twitter, and the money raised from the Manchester show on May 30 will be donated to the Manchester Evening News’ British Red Cross appeal, which was set up to help relatives of those affected by the tragedy.
“I just knew I had to. I’m not in it for the money. The gig was going to happen anyway and we all have to do what we can. I want to try and help pick people up,” he told the paper.
Manchester sings Oasis
Britain falls silent in honour of the Manchester victims
Of Monday night’s suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, the Manchester-born said: “It’s outrageous. Just so sad. What can you do? It’s just f***ing out of order. There are kids and people dying all over the world. And for what?”
“I’d gone to bed early – about 10pm – then got up in the morning to a text from my other brother saying what had gone on and I put the TV on. It’s just unbelievable.”
Tickets are also on sale for shows in Brixton, Dublin and Glasgow, which will take place in early June.
Oasis formed in Manchester in 1991 and was led by Gallagher and his brother Noel.
The band split up in 2009.
Gallagher’s announcement came after video went viral of Manchester crowds spontaneously breaking into Oasis’s 1990s hit Don’t Look Back in Anger after a minute’s silence for attack victims.