Boris Johnson has said the “grim reality” is that “some people can’t be rehabilitated” in prison.
The PM called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release after convicted terrorist Usman Khan killed two people on London Bridge on Friday.
The father of Jack Merritt, one of the victims, says he would not wish his son’s death “to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences”.
Labour have accused Mr Johnson of using the attack for political ends.
And in an article for the Guardian, Mr Merritt’s father Dave said his son “would be livid his death has been used to further an agenda of hate”.
“What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens,” he wrote.
“That door opens up a world where we do not lock up and throw away the key. Where we do not give indeterminate sentences, or convict people on joint enterprise.
“Where we do not slash prison budgets, and where we focus on rehabilitation not revenge.”
Mr Johnson denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.
“I feel, as everybody does, a huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt’s family, and indeed for all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, who perished at London Bridge,” he said.
“But be in no doubt, I’ve campaigned against early release and against short sentences for many years.”
‘Tough to crack’
He said he has a bill “ready to go” in the Queen’s Speech, if his party were elected to power on 12 December, to stop automatic early release for serious and violent offenders.
“We have too many people who are released automatically onto our streets and we need to address that,” he said.
The Conservative Party leader said Khan should not have qualified for automatic early release from prison after he was jailed in 2012 over a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.
Asked about the fact that Khan was not deradicalised in prison, under the watch of the Conservatives, Mr Johnson replied: “When we look at the problems that we come across in trying to deradicalise people, we have to face the grim reality that in some case it really is very difficult and I think this was one of those cases.”
He said Khan’s case showed “some people can’t be rehabilitated”.
“Unquestionably there are some cases to tough to crack and alas he was one of them,” Mr Johnson said.
The prime minister said on Sunday that 74 people jailed for terror offences and released early will have their licence conditions reviewed.
Mr Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were honoured at vigils in London and Cambridge on Monday.
‘System under stress’
Khan was given a special jail term known as Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), which meant he would serve at least eight years and could not be released unless he had convinced the Parole Board he was no longer a threat.
But in 2013, the Court of Appeal replaced the sentence with a 16-year-fixed term of which Khan should serve half in prison.
He was released on licence in December 2018 – subject to an “extensive list of licence conditions”, police said.
Khan was shot dead by police on London Bridge on Friday.
No-one sentenced to a terrorism offence is now subject to automatic early release under current laws.
Former justice minister Philip Lee, who defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats over Brexit, criticised his former party’s record on prisons,
He said the London Bridge attack highlighted “a system that was under stress” and one in need of “proper funding and proper reform”.
He added that the criminal justice system “had to bear the brunt of quite significant cuts to its funding” and during his time as justice minister he “never really felt it was a priority in government to fund justice, because it doesn’t tend to be a vote winner”.
“It only becomes a vote loser when things start to go wrong, or when people think mistake have been made and that’s what happened in this particular case,” he said.
“The prime minister is notorious for being loose with the truth. And now he’s waded in to something incredibly complex, and starts talking about we need to ‘bang them up’ for longer.
“That might play well in some simplistic way, but you need to address capacity of the prison places. You do that by the police, prisons and probation all working together.
In an ITV election debate on Sunday, Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said he was “very uncomfortable with the way the discussion from the Conservatives moves straight from a tragedy to reheating pre-packaged political lines smearing the Labour Party”.
He added: “I think our democracy, regardless of our parties, should be better than that”.
But Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “I think these people should never ever be let out prison unless we are absolutely convinced they do not have the jihadi virus. But political correctness stops us from doing that.”
Commuters have been told not to travel from London Waterloo during the rush hour after a fire closed nine platforms.
The lineside blaze damaged cabling outside the station, meaning trains cannot use platforms 16-24.
Network Rail said “significant damage” had been caused to equipment, meaning trains will be delayed or cancelled.
Disruption is expected for the rest of the day while the Thursday morning rush hour may also be affected.
Network Rail said its engineers would be working through the night to fix the damage.
Waterloo is the busiest and largest railway station in the UK.
The platforms which are closed are normally used by trains serving Windsor, Reading, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.
However, services from other platforms are also being affected because trains have to be diverted or revised.
- Circular services via Hounslow, Richmond, Strawberry Hill and Kingston have been cancelled
- Trains between Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside are diverted via Kingston
- Trains between Waterloo and Exeter/Salisbury are terminated and will restart from Basingstoke
Passengers were warned that services on other routes may also be subject to short-notice cancellations or delays.
In a joint statement, Network Rail and South Western Railway said commuters were “strongly advised to use alternative routes where possible and check their journeys before travelling at southwesternrailway.com for ticket acceptance and service details”.
Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration at the travel disruption.
One Twitter user described the situation as an “absolute shambles”, while others complained about being given the wrong or no information at all by train station staff.
An engineering train has derailed in south London causing the closure of the Gatwick Express service.
The train partly left the tracks at low speed outside Victoria station at about 03:00 BST.
No Gatwick Express trains are running, while Southern warned its services would be “severely reduced”.
The train has moved and the track will now be “assessed for damage” and repaired if necessary through the night, according to Southern.
Disruption is expected to last throughout Tuesday but Gatwick Express and Southern said a normal service was expected on Wednesday.
The train was stuck across a number of tracks meaning platforms nine to 13 at Victoria were blocked, while services were not able to use the “slow/stopping” lines to and from Clapham Junction.
Some trains were also unable to leave the Battersea depot – further reducing the number of services that could run.
Recovery teams cut the 50-tonne train from its two wagons and lifted it back on to the track using hydraulic jacks.
Trains running through Gatwick Airport were also disrupted by a separate signalling fault and a passenger who was injured as they left a carriage, which led to one platform becoming blocked.
Some commuters took to social media as they found their trains had been cancelled.
Other stations, including London Bridge, also became congested as people tried to find alternative routes.
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A Network Rail spokesperson said passengers should travel “via London Bridge or London Blackfriars as trains will be delayed, diverted or cancelled”.
Train tickets for Southern and Gatwick Express services have been accepted for reasonable routes on other services.
Train services affected:
- Gatwick Express services are completely suspended
- Services to Sutton, Epsom Downs and Epsom to and from London Victoria are reduced
- Some mainline services will be diverted to London Bridge instead of London Victoria
- Southern services between London Victoria and Reigate are cancelled and passengers are advised to use Thameslink to and from Redhill and then Great Western Railway between Reigate and Redhill
- Services between London Victoria and East Grinstead will call additionally at Selhurst and Streatham Common
- Services between Milton Keynes and East Croydon will call additionally at Wandsworth Common when not already booked to do so
- Services between London Victoria and Horsham via Sutton will call additionally at Ewell East
- Southern trains from Sutton to London Bridge via Wimbledon will be cancelled. Thameslink will be running as normal
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Climate activists gathered to mark the end of protests that caused 11 days of disruption across London.
More than 1,100 people have been arrested since campaigners from Extinction Rebellion first blocked traffic in the capital on 15 April.
On the final day of action, protesters blocked roads, climbed on a train and glued themselves together in London’s financial district.
Hundreds of people met in Hyde Park for a “closing ceremony”.
Campaigners sat on the grass next to Speaker’s Corner – widely considered London’s home of free speech – singing and listening to musicians.
Transport for London said all roads are open around Marble Arch.
Skeena Rathor, of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the “rebels” to the ceremony and described the crowd as “beautiful beings”, adding: “This is our pause ceremony.
“Welcome to the beginning of our pause.”
She invited the crowd to “begin a process of reflection”, adding: “Thank you for what you have done this week. It is enormous. It is beyond words.”
The crowd cheered and clapped when a speaker said “the police were amazing” during the days of blockades.
“We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world,” event organisers said on their Facebook page.
“We would like to thank Londoners for opening their hearts and demonstrating their willingness to act on that truth.
“We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.”
Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to “tell the truth” about the scale of the climate crisis. It wants the UK to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and a Citizens’ Assembly set up to oversee the changes needed to achieve this.
On Thursday, 26 people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass outside the Stock Exchange and on Fleet Street, bringing the total number of arrests up to 1,130 since the protests began on 15 April, the Met Police said.
Four people stood on top of a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train while another glued herself to a train.
Five people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway, the British Transport Police said.
Meanwhile, Dame Emma Thompson, who joined the activists on Saturday, has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to take part.
The actress said it was “very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying” but she was “in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint”.
More than 10,000 police officers have been deployed during the action.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the protests had been a “huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police”.
The Met said on Wednesday it had imposed new conditions under the Public Order Act on the protest area in Marble Arch, making it a criminal offence to protest outside a designated area or incite others to protest outside of it.
The conditions will remain in force until Saturday.