Transcript of the speech UK Labour candidate Jeremy Corbyn gave after the June 3 terrorist attacks in London:
After the horrific events last night in London in which seven people have died and 21 remain in critical condition, I want to start by asking everyone to stand with me for one minute’s silence.
[Crowd stands for silence]
Tonight, we are once again meeting in the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity, and returning to the election campaign in shock and anger of the brutality and horror that was perpetrated in the streets of London last night.
Let me start by repeating what I said this morning. Sentiments I know are shared by all of us across the whole of our country. This was an appalling terrorist atrocity committed by those warped by depraved inhumanity. We have to stand together, united and determined in our communities as the people of Manchester did less than two weeks ago.
We all express our love and solidarity to the families and friends of those who have died, and of those who have been so grievously injured. And though we find it difficult to full imagine their pain, we feel for them, we’re with them, and we grieve for those who have died.
We pay tribute to the ambulance service and the fire and rescue service for their bravery and professionalism, and especially to the police and the British transport police. They acted quickly and decisively to save lives. Their professionalism was again exemplary. And also, our magnificent National Health Service staff who are still working now to save lives and heal the injured. And let’s express our admiration too for those members of the public who put themselves in danger to assist and protect others, even to the extent of confronting the murderous attackers. As in Manchester last month, their actions represent not just the best of Britain, they represent the normal, decent Britain, the quiet courage and compassion that will always, always defeat fear and hatred.
Those who wish to harm our people, divide our communities, and attack our democracy will not succeed. Our values of solidarity, humanity, and justice will prevail.
The violence of brutality of last night’s attack, the targeting of innocent people going about their ordinary business is a depravity familiar from similar attacks in Manchester, across Europe, the middle east, and beyond. That is why we’re ready to consider whatever proposals may be brought forward by the police and security services, more effectively to deal with the terrorist threat.
If Labour is elected, I will commission a report from the security services on Friday on the changing nature of the terrorist threat. Our priority must be public safety, and I will take whatever action is necessary and effective to protect the security of our people, and our country. That includes full authority for the police to use whatever force is necessary to protect and save life as they did last night, as they did in Westminster in March.
You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the police federation but she accused them of crying wolf. As Labour has set out in our manifesto, we will recruit another 10,000 police officers, including more armed police who need to be properly rewarded, as well as a thousand more security service staff to support our communities and help keep us safe. But it is the timing of yesterday’s attack that we must also address today.
The aim of the terrorist is plainly to derail our democracy, and disrupt or even halt this election. The general election is, of course, about the democratic choice between Labour and Conservative parties, and our very different visions and plans for the future of our country. But it’s also now about something even bigger. It’s about the struggle between terrorism and democracy itself.
The mass murderers who brought terror to our streets in London and Manchester want our election halted. They want our democracy halted. They want their violence to overwhelm our right to vote in a fair and peaceful election, to go about our lives freely. That is why there can be no doubt that next Thursday’s vote must go ahead. Neither can we suspend our campaigning. So I’m glad to be here in Carlisle as scheduled and launching a housing policy with John Healey tomorrow.
Across London today people have been carrying on, upset and appalled, but carrying on. To act otherwise would be to hand the twisted, depraved stategists of ISIS the political victory they crave. That is right that we return to the choices the British people face on June the 8th, in the sure and certain knowledge that we have together, whatever our party views, already made the choice between democracy and terrorism, between freedom and fear.
The choice you face on the 8th of June is a conservative party which has made it clear it will press on with another five years of austerity and cuts to essential public services to pay for even more tax handouts to the richest and the biggest corporations, while the Labour party which is guaranteeing 95 percent of taxpayers will pay no extra tax, but is asking the best off and the largest companies to pay a bit more to fund our hospitals, police, schools, decent pensions, and child care; to invest in good jobs and a great economy for the many, not the few.
I don’t hesitate to make the case for more tax from those who can afford it. It’s taxation that underpins our peaceful, tolerant, and civilized society. The police, security services, fire and rescue services, our national health service, have all suffered cuts to pay for tax giveaways to the big corporations and the very richest. Here in Carlisle you felt the effects of austerity. That’s why we want to increase funding in flood prevention and halt the sustainability and transformation program that threatens to close and overburden A&E’s and maternity units across the whole region.
We are the fifth richest country in the world. It doesn’t have to be like this. That’s why the Labour party will end austerity and lift the public sector pay cap. Our nurses, firefighters, police, doctors and paramedics deserve a pay rise. They cannot get warm words for their heroism. They deserve our respect every day.
If I’m elected Prime Minister on the 8th of June, I’ll be asking the commissioners of the Met police and the British transport police the names of those whose bravery should be commended, to acknowledge their heroism, and of many others in our emergency services and among the public who intervened.
At this time it is more important than ever that we stay united in our communities. It is the strength of our communities that gets us through these awful times as London Mayor Sadiq Khan recognized, but which the current occupant of the White House has neither the grace nor the sense to grasp today. Whether we are Muslim or Christian, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, we are united by our values, by determination for a better world, and that we can build a better society.
Our democratic values must be maintained. We must resist Islamophobia and division, and turn out on the 8th of June united in our determination to show our democracy is strong. However you decide to vote – and yes, we do need to have some difficult conversations – starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states who have funded and fueled extremist ideology.
It’s no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off their funding to these terror networks, including ISIS here and in the middle east.
No government can prevent every attack. Sometimes the most depraved and determined will get through, but responsibility of government is to do everything we can to minimize the risk. Labour has spent this campaign setting out our detailed plans and costed policies for a fairer and better Britain.
On the 8th of June we have a real chance to invest and to build a country that reflects the best of us. That’s what we saw on the streets of London last night and today and in Manchester last week and the week before. A country that is truly, absolutely truly, for the many not the few. Thank you very much.