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PM calls for scrapping of early release for prisoners

The father of terror victim Jack Merritt has opposed Tory plans for tougher prison sentences

Predictably the Tories have tried to capitalise on the London Bridge terror incident by staking out a tough position on law and order.

In the latest development, the Ministry of Justice has launched an “urgent review” of the license conditions of people jailed for terrorism-related offences.

This follows Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s claim that “scrapping” the early release system would have stopped Usman Khan’s terror rampage on London Bridge last Friday.

Visiting the site of the terror attack yesterday, the PM voiced strong support for ending the practise of automatically cutting jail sentences by half.  

“If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offence, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years – and some should never be released”, the PM proclaimed.   

The PM was accompanied on the visit by hardline Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who has gone on the offensive against the Labour party over the specific circumstances leading to Friday’s terror attack.

Less than an hour after the name of one of the terror victims was released, Patel tweeted that previous Labour policies were to blame for the release of Usman Khan, who had a previous terror conviction dating back to 2012.

Khan, 28, killed two people and injured three others in his terror rampage on London Bridge, before he was shot dead by armed police.

Meanwhile, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has tried to strike a balanced tone on the incident and wider terrorism-related issues.

In an interview with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Corbyn said convicted terrorists should “not necessarily” automatically serve their full prison sentences.

“I think it depends on the circumstances and it depends on the sentence but crucially depends on what they’ve done in prison”, Corbyn said.

On the issue of shooting Khan dead, Corbyn said the police “had no choice” as they were “stuck with a situation where there was a credible threat of a bomb belt around his body”.

The father of Jack Merritt, the only victim who has so far been named, also struck a moderate tone, despite enduring the personal tragedy of losing his son in the terror attack.

In a now-deleted tweet, David Merritt said that his son “would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily”.

Jack Merritt, a graduate of Cambridge University, was a course coordinator for “Learning Together”, a prisoners’ rehabilitation programme which was hosting a conference at Fishmongers’ Hall (north end of London Bridge), where Khan started his terror attack.

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