Cameron: British people should ‘carry on’ in defiance of terrorists

David Cameron
David Cameron
0
Have your say

People should “carry on with their lives” in defiance of terrorism, Prime Minister David Cameron has said at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - who rose to near silence on his own benches - expressed solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks but questioned Mr Cameron on neighbourhood policing in the UK at the weekly clash.

Mr Cameron repeated Government plans to increase spending on the security services but amid a row about police funding ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement insisted the number of police officers on the front line had increased in the past five years.

Mr Corbyn began the session by “expressing the horror” of his party at the events in Paris and other terror atrocities, adding questions about what advice the Government was giving to people travelling to France.

He said: “Nothing can justify the targeting of innocent civilians by anyone.”

Mr Cameron praised the remarks, adding he had been pleased to see the Labour leader at Wembley for the England v France match last night before adding: “I thought there was a tremendous display of solidarity. I’m sure they can sing the La Marseillaise in the Stade de France but I think we did a pretty good job yesterday and I was proud to be there.”

He continued: “I agree with you the most important thing is for people to carry on with their lives. It is very important the Eurostar continues to function, that flights continue to go, that people continue to travel, to enjoy London, to enjoy Paris, and carry on going about our business.”

Turning to security at home, Mr Corbyn said: “Next week the Chancellor will present his Autumn Statement. Can you clarify something about the source of the necessary extra funding to be set out for the security services, which we support?

“Will it come at the expense of other areas, either within the Home Office budget or within other areas of public spending, or from the reserves, or from new funding?”

The Labour leader quipped: “Do you want me to go on longer so the Chancellor can explain the answer to you?”

Mr Cameron said the Autumn Statement - due next Wednesday - would set out spending plans in full, adding: “We have already said we will be funding an increase in the security services of 1,900 personnel, we will be safeguarding the counter terrorism budget and we will be seeing an increase in terms of aviation security.

“All of this is part of an overall spending settlement.”

Mr Corbyn insisted the Prime Minister had not answered, telling MPs he was “not absolutely sure where the money is coming from”.

He added: “London has been targeted by terrorists before and this weekend’s events in Paris has focused attention not just on London but obviously other cities throughout the whole of Britain.

“Policing plays a vital role in community cohesion, gathering intelligence on those who may be about to be a risk to all of us - but this is surely undermined if we cut the number of police officers by 5,000.

“Do you 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?’”

Mr Cameron hit back: “You ask where does the money come from - we on this side of the House never forget that every penny we spend comes from taxpayers and borrowed money is simply taxes that are deferred. That is why it is so important to eradicate our deficit.”

The Prime Minister continued: “I’ve said we are protecting the counter terrorism budget, we see a 3,800 increase in neighbourhood police officers in the last Parliament, at the same time as a 31% cut in crime.”

Mr Cameron said shadow home secretary Andy Burnham had endorsed a 10% efficiency target in police spending as “doable”.

Referring to wider rows within the shadow cabinet, he added: “There does seem to be a little bit of agreement on the opposition front bench today.”

Mr Corbyn hit back with a “question from a taxpayer” as he returned to his tactic of crowd-sourcing questions.

Quoting a man called John, the Labour leader questioned Mr Cameron again about cuts to police budgets.

Mr Cameron replied: “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) put the equivalent of an additional 2,000 police on the streets.

“But I will tell you something: as well as wanting resources the police want the appropriate powers.”

Mr Cameron ended the session to cheers from his benches by adding: “Hasn’t it come to something when the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition thinks the police when confronted by a Kalashnikov-waving terrorist isn’t sure what the reaction should be.”

Mr Corbyn hit back with a “question from a taxpayer” as he returned to his tactic of crowd-sourcing questions.

Quoting a man called John, the Labour leader questioned Mr Cameron again about cuts to police budgets.

Mr Cameron replied: “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) put the equivalent of an additional 2,000 police on the streets.

“But I will tell you something: as well as wanting resources the police want the appropriate powers.”

Mr Cameron ended the session to cheers from his benches by adding: “Hasn’t it come to something when the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition thinks the police when confronted by a Kalashnikov-waving terrorist isn’t sure what the reaction should be.”