Tuesday 22 August 2017

London attack: Will the General Election go ahead?

Campaigning was suspended, but the election will go ahead.

By Taylor Heyman

Theresa May has announced the General Election will still go ahead after a terror attack in London killed seven people and injured over 40.

Here’s what you need to know.

Will the election definitely go ahead?

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke in Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, confirming the General Election will go ahead.

She said it was right to suspend campaigns as a mark of respect, but “violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the General Election will go ahead as planned on Thursday.

“As a country, our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence. We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.”

The terror threat was not raised from its “severe” level at the Cobra meeting in response to Saturday night’s outrage, which saw seven killed and 48 injured as terrorists drove a van into pedestrians at London Bridge and then attacked passers-by with knives.

Has campaigning been suspended?

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Greens have put national campaigning on hold at least until Sunday evening in respect for those killed and injured in the attack.

Parties in Northern Ireland have also suspended political campaigning as a mark of respect.

However, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall refused to halt campaigning. He said that disruption to the campaign was “precisely what the extremists would want us to do”.

When will campaigning start again?

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Leaders of all the main parties have released statements on the attack and some have made comments about when campaigning will resume.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Labour Party will be suspending national campaigning until this evening, after consultations with other parties, as a mark of respect for those who have died and suffered injury.”

A party source said that Corbyn will give a speech to a small audience in Carlisle on Sunday evening addressing the London attack and setting out Labour’s values.

The party has cancelled a rally and its campaign battle bus will not be on the road during the course of Sunday.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “The election must go ahead as planned. It is right that we suspend our national campaigning for a short while out of respect for those affected by these tragic events, but local campaigning can and must continue.

“The remainder of this campaign must be a collective showing of defiance and pride in our democratic values.”

In Northern Ireland, the Alliance Party paused campaigning for 24 hours, while the Ulster Unionists suspended theirs “until further notice”.

Sinn Fein cancelled all election activity for Sunday apart from local canvassing.

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