UK election to go ahead on June 8 despite London attack

Most political parties suspend campaigning for a day after car and stabbing attack, but far-right UKIP refuses to do so.

    Britsh Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street [Kevin Coombs/Reuters]
    Britsh Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street [Kevin Coombs/Reuters]

    Britain's general election will go ahead on Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday after a car and stabbing attack in central London left at least seven people dead and 48 wounded.

    Several political parties, including the ruling Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party, suspended campaigning on Sunday for a day "as a mark of respect", May said.

    "Violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday," the prime minister said in a televised statement in front of her Downing Street office. 

    READ MORE: Panic and horror at London Bridge

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also expressed his "shock and horror" for the attacks in the UK capital's London Bridge and Borough Market areas.

    "Those who wish to harm our people, divide our communities and attack our democracy will not succeed. We will stand together to defend our common values of solidarity, humanity and justice and will not allow terrorists to derail our democratic process," Corbyn said in a statement. 

    London reels after brutal and deadly attack on civilians

    The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats also announced that they were temporarily suspending their campaigns, but Paul Nuttall, the leader of the anti-immigration UKIP, refused to do so "because this is precisely what the extremists would want us to do".

    Recent attacks

    The attack on Saturday came less than two weeks after a deadly suicide bombing at a Manchester concert venue, which killed 22 people, and some three months after an attacker ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four before stabbing a policeman to death outside Parliament.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's attack.

    READ MORE: World leaders condemn deadly London Bridge attack

    In her TV address, May called for tougher measures, including international agreements to regulate cyberspace to help to stop the spread of "Islamist extremism", and said Britain needs to become more robust at identifying and stamping it out.

    May said that while the recent attacks are not connected, they are all bound by the "single evil ideology" that says Western values are incompatible with Islam, adding that the "perpetrators are inspired to attack ... by copying one another".

    "She has been talking about how things need to change," Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba, reporting from London said, but added that May did not specify any immediate steps.

    "London is known to be stoical after the previous attacks that took place in the city, notably the seven attacks that targeted public transportation in 2005," he added.

    "At the same time, the number of recent attacks in the capital has made a lot of people worried."

     

    As it did after the events in Westminster and Manchester, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a statement that strongly condemned Saturday's attack.

    "I am appalled and angered by the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market, in my home city. These acts of violence were truly shocking and I condemn them in the strongest terms," Harun Khan, the MCB's secretary general, said.

    "Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons.

    "That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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