Prime Minister Theresa May says she will change human rights laws if they stop Britain tackling terrorism

Rebecca Smith
May appeared in Slough tonight
May appeared in Slough tonight (Source: Getty)

The Prime Minister has said she is prepared to change human rights laws if they are getting in the way of Britain's efforts to clamp down on terrorism.

Speaking at a rally in Slough tonight, Theresa May expanded on comments made earlier this week in the wake of the attack at London Bridge over the weekend, and said she would change any laws that got in the way of preventing terrorists from launching attacks in Britain.

Read more: May defends security record, accusing Corbyn of "abdication of leadership"

May had pledged to step up the fight against terrorism after the weekend attack where seven died and 48 were injured when three terrorists drove a van at pedestrians and then stabbed people at Borough Market. May said "enough is enough" and called for "difficult conversations" to weed out potential terrorists from UK communities, adding that Britain has been too tolerant of extremism.

Speaking in Slough tonight, May said: "As we see the threat changing, evolving, becoming a more complex threat, we need to make sure that our police and security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need."

I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terrorist suspects back to their own countries.

And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.

And if our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it.

If I am elected as Prime Minister on Thursday, that work begins on Friday.

While the Conservatives pledged not to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) during the next parliament, they could try to change parts of the Human Rights Act once the UK leaves the European Union.

They could also derogate from elements of the ECHR, without leaving it.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in response to May's comments: "You can't keep our country safe on the cheap. Theresa May is refusing to put in the resources that are needed. She has slashed funding for the police, our courts system and border force."

I will do everything necessary and effective to keep our people safe. We will always keep the law under review, but don't believe would-be terrorists and suicide bombers will be deterred by longer sentences or restricting our rights at home.

The right response to the recent attacks is to halt the Conservative cuts and invest in our police and security services and protect our democratic values, including the Human Rights Act.

National security has become an increasing focal point during the election, after the recent attacks in Manchester and London Bridge followed the March Westminster attack.

May's last-ditch call tonight comes with voters heading to the polls on Thursday. The Prime Minister has previously rejected claims from Corbyn that she has been offering "policing on the cheap" and sought to redirect focus onto her capabilities as a leader.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn says he backs calls for Theresa May to resign

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