With the general election only days away, every party has been making big commitments on NHS spending.
Among other things, the parties have offered more funding, extra GPs, more nurse training and upgraded facilities.
But critics say that in addition to more spending, politicians should focus on better long-term planning for the NHS to ensure its survival.
Boris Johnson has said the “grim reality” is that “some people can’t be rehabilitated” in prison.
The PM called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release after convicted terrorist Usman Khan killed two people on London Bridge on Friday.
The father of Jack Merritt, one of the victims, says he would not wish his son’s death “to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences”.
Labour have accused Mr Johnson of using the attack for political ends.
And in an article for the Guardian, Mr Merritt’s father Dave said his son “would be livid his death has been used to further an agenda of hate”.
“What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens,” he wrote.
“That door opens up a world where we do not lock up and throw away the key. Where we do not give indeterminate sentences, or convict people on joint enterprise.
“Where we do not slash prison budgets, and where we focus on rehabilitation not revenge.”
Mr Johnson denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.
“I feel, as everybody does, a huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt’s family, and indeed for all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, who perished at London Bridge,” he said.
“But be in no doubt, I’ve campaigned against early release and against short sentences for many years.”
‘Tough to crack’
He said he has a bill “ready to go” in the Queen’s Speech, if his party were elected to power on 12 December, to stop automatic early release for serious and violent offenders.
“We have too many people who are released automatically onto our streets and we need to address that,” he said.
The Conservative Party leader said Khan should not have qualified for automatic early release from prison after he was jailed in 2012 over a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.
Asked about the fact that Khan was not deradicalised in prison, under the watch of the Conservatives, Mr Johnson replied: “When we look at the problems that we come across in trying to deradicalise people, we have to face the grim reality that in some case it really is very difficult and I think this was one of those cases.”
He said Khan’s case showed “some people can’t be rehabilitated”.
“Unquestionably there are some cases to tough to crack and alas he was one of them,” Mr Johnson said.
The prime minister said on Sunday that 74 people jailed for terror offences and released early will have their licence conditions reviewed.
Mr Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were honoured at vigils in London and Cambridge on Monday.
‘System under stress’
Khan was given a special jail term known as Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), which meant he would serve at least eight years and could not be released unless he had convinced the Parole Board he was no longer a threat.
But in 2013, the Court of Appeal replaced the sentence with a 16-year-fixed term of which Khan should serve half in prison.
He was released on licence in December 2018 – subject to an “extensive list of licence conditions”, police said.
Khan was shot dead by police on London Bridge on Friday.
No-one sentenced to a terrorism offence is now subject to automatic early release under current laws.
Former justice minister Philip Lee, who defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats over Brexit, criticised his former party’s record on prisons,
He said the London Bridge attack highlighted “a system that was under stress” and one in need of “proper funding and proper reform”.
He added that the criminal justice system “had to bear the brunt of quite significant cuts to its funding” and during his time as justice minister he “never really felt it was a priority in government to fund justice, because it doesn’t tend to be a vote winner”.
“It only becomes a vote loser when things start to go wrong, or when people think mistake have been made and that’s what happened in this particular case,” he said.
“The prime minister is notorious for being loose with the truth. And now he’s waded in to something incredibly complex, and starts talking about we need to ‘bang them up’ for longer.
“That might play well in some simplistic way, but you need to address capacity of the prison places. You do that by the police, prisons and probation all working together.
In an ITV election debate on Sunday, Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said he was “very uncomfortable with the way the discussion from the Conservatives moves straight from a tragedy to reheating pre-packaged political lines smearing the Labour Party”.
He added: “I think our democracy, regardless of our parties, should be better than that”.
But Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “I think these people should never ever be let out prison unless we are absolutely convinced they do not have the jihadi virus. But political correctness stops us from doing that.”
Commuters have been told not to travel from London Waterloo during the rush hour after a fire closed nine platforms.
The lineside blaze damaged cabling outside the station, meaning trains cannot use platforms 16-24.
Network Rail said “significant damage” had been caused to equipment, meaning trains will be delayed or cancelled.
Disruption is expected for the rest of the day while the Thursday morning rush hour may also be affected.
Network Rail said its engineers would be working through the night to fix the damage.
Waterloo is the busiest and largest railway station in the UK.
The platforms which are closed are normally used by trains serving Windsor, Reading, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.
However, services from other platforms are also being affected because trains have to be diverted or revised.
- Circular services via Hounslow, Richmond, Strawberry Hill and Kingston have been cancelled
- Trains between Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside are diverted via Kingston
- Trains between Waterloo and Exeter/Salisbury are terminated and will restart from Basingstoke
Passengers were warned that services on other routes may also be subject to short-notice cancellations or delays.
In a joint statement, Network Rail and South Western Railway said commuters were “strongly advised to use alternative routes where possible and check their journeys before travelling at southwesternrailway.com for ticket acceptance and service details”.
Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration at the travel disruption.
One Twitter user described the situation as an “absolute shambles”, while others complained about being given the wrong or no information at all by train station staff.
An engineering train has derailed in south London causing the closure of the Gatwick Express service.
The train partly left the tracks at low speed outside Victoria station at about 03:00 BST.
No Gatwick Express trains are running, while Southern warned its services would be “severely reduced”.
The train has moved and the track will now be “assessed for damage” and repaired if necessary through the night, according to Southern.
Disruption is expected to last throughout Tuesday but Gatwick Express and Southern said a normal service was expected on Wednesday.
The train was stuck across a number of tracks meaning platforms nine to 13 at Victoria were blocked, while services were not able to use the “slow/stopping” lines to and from Clapham Junction.
Some trains were also unable to leave the Battersea depot – further reducing the number of services that could run.
Recovery teams cut the 50-tonne train from its two wagons and lifted it back on to the track using hydraulic jacks.
Trains running through Gatwick Airport were also disrupted by a separate signalling fault and a passenger who was injured as they left a carriage, which led to one platform becoming blocked.
Some commuters took to social media as they found their trains had been cancelled.
Other stations, including London Bridge, also became congested as people tried to find alternative routes.
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A Network Rail spokesperson said passengers should travel “via London Bridge or London Blackfriars as trains will be delayed, diverted or cancelled”.
Train tickets for Southern and Gatwick Express services have been accepted for reasonable routes on other services.
Train services affected:
- Gatwick Express services are completely suspended
- Services to Sutton, Epsom Downs and Epsom to and from London Victoria are reduced
- Some mainline services will be diverted to London Bridge instead of London Victoria
- Southern services between London Victoria and Reigate are cancelled and passengers are advised to use Thameslink to and from Redhill and then Great Western Railway between Reigate and Redhill
- Services between London Victoria and East Grinstead will call additionally at Selhurst and Streatham Common
- Services between Milton Keynes and East Croydon will call additionally at Wandsworth Common when not already booked to do so
- Services between London Victoria and Horsham via Sutton will call additionally at Ewell East
- Southern trains from Sutton to London Bridge via Wimbledon will be cancelled. Thameslink will be running as normal
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A young woman was killed in the London Bridge attack after she ran to the aid of another victim, telling her friends, “I’m a nurse, I have to go and help”, an inquest has heard.
Kirsty Boden, 28, was stabbed in the head as she knelt over restaurant waiter Alexandre Pigeard as he lay dying, the Old Bailey heard.
Footage of her being set upon was shown at the inquest into the deaths of those killed in the London Bridge attack.
Eight people died on 3 June 2017.
Australian Ms Boden, dubbed the “angel of London Bridge”, had been out for a meal with two friends when she heard the three attackers’ van crash into the railings above and debris falling onto the outside tables.
Gareth Patterson QC, the lawyer for her family, said Ms Boden got up within seconds of the crash.
The off-duty nurse, who worked at Guy’s Hospital, was thinking of others rather than her own safety, he said.
A statement from Ms Boden’s friend, Melanie Schroeder – one of the friends she was dining with – was read out to the jury on Friday.
Ms Schroeder, who had previously asked Ms Boden to be her bridesmaid at her wedding, said: “Kirsty jumped up and said, ‘I’m a nurse. I have to go and help. I need to see if they need help’.
“Kirsty headed off and I thought nothing of it,” she said.
Ms Schroeder said she then remembered hearing screaming and thinking people should calm down because it was “just a crash”.
The friends fled the restaurant with the other diners, and when they returned Ms Schroeder said she saw Ms Boden’s body on the ground, which she recognised “because of her bright pink cardigan”.
Ms Boden, who had suffered stab wounds, was alive but unable to speak, Ms Schroeder said.
Ms Schroeder and a GP tried to revive her friend, while Ms Mooney attempted to find emergency medical help, but Ms Boden died at their side.
Courtroom in awe at selflessness
BBC reporter Hanna Yusuf, at the inquest
Dreams, hopes and friendships were terminated on the night Australian nurse Kirsty Boden lost her life.
The courtroom watched in awe as footage of a selfless Ms Boden getting up from her dinner with friends – to help victims after hearing a crash – was played.
The clips illustrated a night that violently broke up the friendship trio of Ms Boden, Melanie Schroeder and Harriet Mooney.
In statements read aloud, Ms Schroeder and Ms Mooney emotively described the night during which they saw their friend die.
The desperation in their attempts to save the life of their friend, who was supposed to be Ms Schroeder’s bridesmaid, was palpable.
There was a collective shudder as the court watched the moment Khuram Butt made a stabbing motion at a faint figure identified as Ms Boden.
The court was reminded that the breakdown of moments that seemed lifelong, and were life-changing, happened over a matter of seconds in real time.
The inquest heard how Ms Boden was set upon by all three attackers – Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.
The three had crashed their car on London Bridge before running through Borough Market.
They were shot dead near the market around 10 minutes after their attack began.
Lawyer Mr Patterson said the tip of a knife carried by attacker Butt, 27, was later found embedded in Ms Boden’s head.
The jury heard an account from witness Alexandre Colou, who said he saw the moment Ms Boden fell as crowds of people fled the attackers.
“Her eyes were moving wildly,” he said. “She had difficulties breathing. I was talking to her and then her eyes stopped moving.
“I said ‘stay awake, stay awake, stay with me’.”
The stories emerging from the inquest
- Australian au pair Sara Zelenak was being helped up by a passer-by after slipping over in her high heels when they were both fatally stabbed.
- The first person stabbed in the attack, Richard Livett, described coming “nose to nose” with attacker Khuram Butt, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” in his face before stabbing him in the back.
- PC Mia Kerr recalled how she discovered victim Sebastien Belanger lying in the street and used her baton to protect other members of the public from the attackers.
- Off-duty nurse Helen Kennett told how she asked one of the London Bridge attackers what was wrong with him before he stabbed her in the neck. She survived the attack.
The inquest also heard from British Transport Police constable, Wayne Marques, who previously spoke to the BBC about being the first officer to confront all three of the attackers.
At the inquest, PC Marques told of how he had been on patrol, armed with only a baton, when he ran to the aid of Marie Bondeville, her boyfriend Oliver Dowling, and Richard Livett.
He said he was initially alerted by a woman’s scream and people running up and down Borough High Street.
As he went to investigate, he told the court he was approached by a man running, before finding Richard Livet lying in a pool of blood.
He then noticed a man grabbing Ms Bondeville and told the court how the attacker appeared to punch her three or four times, before she fell to the floor, face down.
PC Marques then described the moment he saw Mr Dowling being stabbed in the neck.
He said: “I got my baton out and charged the first attacker… my intention was to hit him as hard as I could with all my weight behind me with everything I had. I knew he was trying to kill the man on the floor.”
PC Marques said as the first attacker began to “crumble” the officer felt an “almighty blow” to his head – which impaired his vision.
He said: “At this point I saw a knife coming towards me. Through instinctive reaction I defended myself.”
The officer said “a messy fight” ensued with the second attacker, before the third ran over.
Although PC Marques was stabbed multiple times, he said: “My job at that stage was to hold on and keep them fighting until the cavalry arrived.”
A climate protest that has disrupted parts of London for nine days is to end on Thursday, organisers say.
Police cleared Extinction Rebellion’s final road block in Marble Arch earlier and arrested 22 people, bringing the total to 1,088 since protests began.
Specialist equipment has been deployed in Parliament Square to remove protesters camping in trees.
Makeshift camps at Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge were removed earlier in the week.
One protester told the BBC “This is our last stand”.
Organisers said a closing ceremony would be held at 18:00 BST on Thursday at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park.
“We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world,” they said in a statement.
“We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he welcomed the decision to cease the protests, which had been a “huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police”.
So far 69 people have been charged in connection with the protest, the Met Police said.
Police have extended restrictions at the Marble Arch site, preventing protesters congregating on the road, until Saturday afternoon.
A senior Scotland Yard officer has warned that officers will require new powers to deal with demonstrations on a similar scale in the future.
Giving evidence to the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, Commander Adrian Usher, head of the Metropolitan Police’s protection command, said it should not be enough for a protest to be “peaceful” to be considered lawful.
“We will conduct a sober review of our tactics against recent protests, but I think it is likely to say the legislation associated with policing protest is quite dated and that policing and protest has moved on and that legislation should follow suit,” he said.
Earlier, Extinction Rebellion Youth handed a letter addressed to MPs, to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
In response, Ms Abbott said MPs needed to come together to host a “broad conversation” on bringing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions down.
Campaigners have issued three core demands to the government: to “tell the truth about climate change”; to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025; and to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress.
Elliott Cuciurean, 20, believed to be the first climate activist successfully prosecuted over the fresh wave of protests, was spared a fine at a court hearing on Tuesday.
More actions are expected in the future.