Sadiq Khan saves growing row over police resources from becoming a farce

The row over Theresa May’s police cuts is going Gothic since Trump entered the fray to criticise London Mayor Sadiq Khan and then typically to repeat  his attack even though May tactfully corrected him. The London Evening Standard (editor George Osborne, the former chancellor sacked by May) details the developing story. It turns out Corbyn was prompted to call for May’s resignation by an ITV correspondent’s question. He in turn  had taken up  the resignation call from Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s tee- shirted sporting former Downing St guru now no longer a mate of Cameron’s and a Fox News presenter.

This is what Khan, a Moslem, wrote about the terror attacks  He has also weighed in with facts about  police cuts and police needs in London, as reported by the FT (£) .

Sadiq Khan.. claimed Mrs May was planning total cuts of £1.7bn to the Metropolitan Police budget over a decade, saying: “We are not receiving the sort of funding we need as a capital city

Mr Khan has in the past attempted to distance himself from Mr Corbyn and his criticism is likely to carry more weight, particularly given his role managing London.

… the criticism from Mr Khan could be damaging. Mr Khan said £600m had been cut from the London police budget over the past seven years and there were £400m more cuts to come over the next four years. He said that a planned change in the police funding formula could cost the capital a further £700m, amounting to a total cut of £1.7bn. Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, also made a muted call for additional funding to fight a terrorist threat. “All of us need to look at the overall strategy, the tactics, the resourcing and indeed what we are doing with in and with our communities,” she said. “So there is whole load of things to review.”

An Evening Standard leader puts flesh on the bones of May’s generalities but draws well back from calling for  her head. That would have damaged her further but would also have opened a fatal breach that would surely have killed off Osborne’s ambitions for resuming a political career and saving the nation from the disaster of Brexit .

Let’s stop complaining about the internet companies’ failure to act, and instead act ourselves to pass laws that force them to intercept all communication when faced with a warrant and remove Islamist material from their sites. It’s good to hear the PM tell us she is planning new legislation.

We need a definition of Islamist extremism. We have to be clear that there is a strand of Islam that foments violence. We need to identify its roots, and the Salafist/Wahhabist organisations and mosques that promote it. We should ban their foreign funding. We should identify the unacceptable aspects of their language, teaching and behaviour to help schools and colleges follow suit. How have our prisons become terrorist madrassas

But it is well past the time for what Mrs May calls the “difficult” conversation with that community. Why do so many Muslim families encourage their children to marry partners from the Indian subcontinent rather than those born here, making integration more difficult? Why do we accept attitudes and practices towards women that should be wholly unacceptable in the 21st century? We should judge Islamist extremism not just against the standards of the great religion of Islam but against the great values of Britain. Excusing intolerance has meant, in the Prime Minister’s words to us, “we have been too tolerant of extremism”.

Mrs May speaks for us all when she says “enough is enough”. She was in charge of counter-terrorism efforts for seven years as Home Secretary. That is a source of comfort, not concern; but after three attacks in less than three months, let’s not pretend everything is perfect. There seem to have been multiple opportunities to identify these killers and they were missed. Mrs May has our backing, not just when she highlights our successes but when she is candid about how much more we need to do. London mourns. London is defiant. But London also demands action.



Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London