Jeremy Corbyn raised the issue of police cuts and preventing terrorist attacks two years ago, but was jeered by Tory MPs

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Wednesday 07 June 2017 09:00
news

A video of Jeremy Corbyn being jeered by Tory MPs for asking a question about police cuts is being shared online.

The donation funded blog Skwawkbox identifies this incident as taking place in 2016.

In light of the recent attacks in London and Manchester, the blog is implying Corbyn's opponents at the time were wrong to jeer at him for raising these concerns in the Commons.

The video on their site, an embed from YouTube, does not show which Prime Minister Corbyn is facing, yet the headline used by Skwawkbox refers to 2016, and in the article's body, Chancellor Philip Hammond is referred to as presenting the next Autumn Statement.

This is said video.

However, the debate wasn't recorded in 2016, and Jeremy Corbyn was not facing Theresa May.

Corbyn's question from 'John' on police cuts and the terrorist threat was put to the then Prime Minister David Cameron on 18 November 2015.

Following that month's terrorist attack in Paris, and ahead of that year's Autumn Statement (made by George Osborne), Mr Corbyn asked Mr Cameron:

I have a question from a taxpayer, actually. His name is John and he says—[Interruption.]

Picture: UK Parliament/YouTube screengrab(UK Parliament/YouTube screengrab)

Corbyn waits for the government MPs opposite to stop for about 8 seconds.

He says that at a time when we are experiencing the greatest threats from terrorism ever faced, our police office numbers and their resources are being cut and that

'Demands on the police have been increasing steadily as budgets are slashed, increasing stress on officers. Couple that with detrimental changes to their pay, terms, conditions and pensions, it’s no wonder that morale' in the police force 'is so poor that 1 in 3 are considering leaving.'

Will the Prime Minister be able to tell us whether community policing and other police budgets will be protected or not in next week’s autumn statement?'

Cameron responded, reiterating a previous answer that there were 3,800 more community police officers under the Conservatives.

Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman again: neighbourhood policing numbers have gone up by 3,800. In the capital city, we have seen a 500% increase in neighbourhood policing. Because we have cut bureaucracy, we have also put the equivalent of an extra 2,000 police on the streets. But I will tell him something: as well as wanting resources, the police want the appropriate powers. Has it not come to something when the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition is not sure what the police’s reaction should be when they are confronted by a Kalashnikov-waving terrorist?

Prior to this question, Corbyn had asked Cameron:

London has been targeted by terrorists before, and this weekend’s events in Paris have focused attention not just on London but on other cities throughout the whole of Britain. Policing plays a vital role in community cohesion, gathering intelligence on those who might be about to be a risk to all of us, but that is surely undermined if we cut the number of police officers by 5,000. Does the Prime Minister agree with the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who said:

'I genuinely worry about the safety of London'— if the cuts go through on this scale?

Cameron responded with a call back to the Tory election winning lines of 2015 about balancing the books.

The right hon. Gentleman asks where the money comes from. On this side of the House, we never forget that every penny we spend comes from taxpayers. Borrowed money is simply taxes that are deferred, and that is why it is so important to eradicate our deficit at the same time as making sure that we fund our security and intelligence services and police properly.

As I have said, we are protecting the counter-terrorism budget. We saw a 3,800 increase in neighbourhood police officers in the last Parliament, at the same time as a 31% cut in crime...

The full debate can be read on Hansard, and watched here.

In the debate, Corbyn also said Labour supported Cameron's proposal to increase funding for the Security Services. He also asked if other areas within the Home Office would be squeezed in order to pay for it.

HT Skwawkbox

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