After the fatal stabbings on or near London Bridge on Friday afternoon, it was only a matter of time before the Tories revealed their desperate state by using the incident as a political football, one with which they clearly expected to use in the breaking of a few Labour windows. The problem was the level of flat-out dishonesty they were prepared to use in order to try and blame Labour for it all.
So it was that when Labour’s Yvette Cooper asked “Usman Khan was sentenced for serious terror offence in Feb 2012. Thought to be so dangerous by judge he was given IPP sentence to prevent release if still serious threat. Instead he was released 6 yrs later without Parole Board assessment. How [could] this be allowed to happen?” the Tories’ Priti Patel was ready with a response, even if its content was not true.
“Because legislation brought in by your government in 2008 meant that dangerous terrorists had to automatically be released after half of their jail term. Conservatives changed the law in 2012 to end your automatic release policy but Khan was convicted before this”. This is a flat-out lie, and Ms Cooper hinted as to why that might be.
“When the Government replaced IPPs in December 2012 they claimed new arrangements would still protect the public. Why have they failed in this case?” Usman Khan’s appeal the following year (2013) left the Judges with no alternative but to sentence in accordance with the new Coalition alternative to IPP - which resulted in his early release.
The Secret Barrister despaired of this dishonesty. "Another lie. On a day when campaigning has supposedly been suspended, the Cabinet, from PM to Home Secretary to ministers, is out in force telling flagrant lies about the criminal justice system to score cheap points out of people’s deaths. What a country we live in”.
Sonia Sodha of the Guardian was on the same page. “This is straight-up incorrect. Khan was originally given an indeterminate sentence in 2012 (which, as it happens, was introduced in 2005 by the then Labour govt)”. So was barrister Tony Kent. “This is an out and out lie. How is the Home Secretary being allowed to post this!?! It just is not true. At all. There were plenty of sentencing options available to the Court that would have prevented automatic release. Just. Stop. Lying. You’re not Trump. This is not America”.
It wasn’t Ms Patel’s only recent whopper, as another Tweeter pointed out. “Just 4 days before the tragedy on London Bridge Priti Patel lied: ‘The Conservative Party is the only party of law and order–let me be very clear about that. It’s wrong to say there have been cuts to policing over the last nine years’”. Another added “Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, says he personally warned Boris Johnson in 2016 about the risks of freeing terrorists but was told there was ‘no money’ to deradicalise them”.
And talking of Nazir Afzal, his conclusion was straightforward. “30 years working in criminal justice. Half that time at Chief Officer level. Having overseen prosecution of perhaps a million cases. Worked with dozens of ministers of all parties. I have never felt need to say this: This Prime Minister (& Home Secretary) are both lying to us”.
Priti Patel has disgracefully used the London Bridge stabbings for her own ends. Worse, she has lied in order to smear Labour. She is not fit to be re-elected to Parliament.
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