Terrorists should 'not necessarily' serve full jail term, says Jeremy Corbyn
The father of terror victim Jack Merritt does not wish his son's death to be "used as a pretext for more draconian sentences".
By Emily Mee, news reporter, and Alan McGuinness, political reporter
Tuesday 3 December 2019 10:00, UK
JEREMY CORBYNLONDON BRIDGE ATTACK 2019
Jeremy Corbyn is calling for a review of the prison system
Release of terrorists 'depends on the circumstances'
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Jeremy Corbyn has told Sky News that convicted terrorists should "not necessarily" automatically serve their full prison sentences.
The Labour leader's comment comes in the wake of Friday's London Bridge terror attack, which left two people dead.
The attacker, 28-year-old Usman Khan, was a convicted terrorist who was wearing an electronic tag after being released halfway through a 16-year prison sentence for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.
Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Usman Khan, 20, one of nine members of an al Qaida-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp, who has been jailed for a minimum term of eight years. He has been named as the perpetrator of an attack on London Bridge on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 30, 2019. See PA story POLICE LondonBridge. Photo credit should read: West Midlands Police/PA Wir
Usman Khan killed two people in a knife rampage on Friday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said violent offenders "must serve every day of their sentence, with no exceptions".
Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge, Mr Corbyn said there were lessons to be learned from the incident and there should be a "full investigation" into the circumstances around the attacker's prison sentence and subsequent release.
Pressed on whether convicted terrorists should serve their full prison sentences automatically, he said: "No, not necessarily".
The Labour leader continued: "I think it depends on the circumstances and it depends on the sentence but crucially depends on what they've done in prison.
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"I think there has to be an examination of how our prison services work and crucially what happens to them on release from prison."
He added: "There has to be an examination of what goes on in the prison, because prisons ought to be a place where people are put away because of major serious offences but also a place where rehabilitation takes place."
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Mr Corbyn said police "had no choice" but to shoot Khan dead as they were "stuck with a situation where there was a credible threat of a bomb belt around his body".
Speaking later at an event in York, he said people cannot be kept safe "on the cheap".
London Bridge attack: Boris Johnson says terrorists must serve 'every day of sentences'
Mr Corbyn added: "We have to understand that no government can prevent every attack. No-one would believe any political leader who said they could. But the government can act to make such acts of terror less, rather than more, likely."
His remarks follow the prime minister's assertion that automatic early release must end and other laws must change to strengthen security.
Mr Johnson claimed that because the "broken hung parliament was preoccupied with blocking Brexit", his government was unable to make the changes required to keep violent offenders and terrorists in jail for longer.
He said: "This system has got to end - I repeat, this has got to end, as I've been saying for four months."
"If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offence, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14