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General election 2019 latest: Boris battling ‘to prevent PR setback’ over London Bridge

London Bridge
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London Bridge
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Forensic photographer at London Bridge 

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Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images
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London Bridge

The Week’s daily round-up of how the election campaign is unfolding

One-Minute Read James Ashford
Monday, December 2, 2019 - 9:44am

The London Bridge terrorist attack on Friday afternoon has sparked a political blame game between the major parties.

The Times reports that Boris Johnson is seeking “to prevent a public relations setback” over the release of Usman Khan, the convicted terrorist who killed two people and wounded a further three on Friday before being shot dead by police.

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Appearing on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the prime minister “repeatedly sought to make political capital over the attack”, says The Guardian. Johnson blamed laws introduced under a Labour “leftie government” for Khan’s release, despite Marr pointing out the Conservatives had been in power for ten years.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn branded Khan’s release a “complete disaster” and called for a “very full investigation”.

Elsewhere, the main parties clashed over Brexit during an ITV debate last night. Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon refused to say which way he would vote in a second referendum, while the Tories’ Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak did not rule out a no-deal Brexit if the Conservatives were re-elected.

Yesterday also saw Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson stating that she would not support Labour’s nationalisation plans in the event of a hung parliament. “Nobody is expecting, on the current scenario, that Jeremy Corbyn is getting anywhere near Downing Street,” Swinson BBC Radio 5’s Pienaar’s Politics.

But four polls published on Sunday showed Labour narrowing the gap with the Conservatives. Surveys by YouGov, Savanta Comres, BMG and Opinium show gaps of between six and 15 points. A spokesperson for BMG - which put the Conservatives on 39% support and Labour on 33% - said the election was in “hung parliament territory”.

In other news, Labour has announced plans to cut rail fares by a third if it wins power in the 12 December election. “Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future,” said Corbyn.

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