May Targets Human Rights as Election Campaign Closes on Security

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after an attack that left 7 people dead and dozens injured in London

Separately, in an interview with The Sun, Ms May said she could seek to double the period for which terror suspects can be held without trial to 28 days.

The last one came this week, where three extremists rammed a van on the crowds at high speed on the London Bridge and then came out with knives attacking people.

The prime minister's intervention came after days of tough questioning from politicians and the press about how cuts to police numbers she made as Home Secretary have made it more hard to protect Britain's streets and uproot radicalisation at community-level.

Starmer said he had never found human rights law a barrier to successful prosecutions of terrorists or those preparing acts of terrorism.

"In light of the changing and increasingly complex threat, we need to make sure that the police and security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need".

May proposed a number of measures to combat extremism, including longer sentences for those convicted of terrorism-related offences, making it easier for authorities to deport foreign suspects back to their home countries and taking steps to "stop the terrorists planning online".

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The prime minister said she meant to enact "longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences ... making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries [and] doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court".

"If our human rights laws get in the way of doing it, we will change the law so we can do it", she added. "Certainly the Labour Party had a three line whip on it, and I led for that on it and we worked with the Prime Minister to ensure..."

Political commentators also said Tuesday that although May's Conservative Party says it will not to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the party, if re-elected, could begin to try to replace or amend parts of the ECHR after Britain leaves the European Union.

The election campaign has been largely focused on national security in the wake of Britain's third major terror attack this year.

Yesterday it emerged that one of the attackers, Zaghba Youssef, had been flagged by Italian security services past year. "I know because I did it for five years", he said.

"All she would do is reduce freedom, not terrorism", he said.

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But the Foreign Secretary dismissed the idea that cuts to police numbers could be responsible, despite jibes from Labour.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused the prime minister of launching a "nuclear arms race" in terror laws.

"It might give the appearance of action, but what the security services lack is not more power, but more resources".

Liberty director Martha Spurrier said: "If Theresa May does what she threatens, she will go down in history as the prime minister who handed terrorists their greatest victory". When May attacked it on Tuesday to an audience of activists, it got one of the biggest cheers of her speech.

"Our city has suffered two bad terrorist attacks since I was elected as mayor - and we must do everything possible to stop there being any more".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the right response was to "halt the Conservative cuts and invest in our police and security services and protect our democratic values, including the Human Rights Act".

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