Politics

Labour deputy leader wants police to ‘shoot terrorists and ask questions second’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said she wants police to “shoot your terrorists and ask questions second”.

Ms Rayner told Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast she was “quite hardline” on law and order and said she would encourage police to “antagonise” criminals.

“On things like law and order, I am quite hardline. I am like, shoot your terrorists and ask questions second,” she told the live audience who responded loudly.

“Sorry, is that the most controversial thing I’ve ever said?”

Salman Abedi killed 22 innocent people
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Salman Abedi killed 22 people in the Manchester Arena bombings

She has received criticism for her comments, including from former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and left-wing grassroots group Momentum, which supported Jeremy Corbyn, someone who has been very vocal in his opposition of “shoot to kill” policies.

But Steve Reed, shadow justice secretary, defended Ms Rayner, telling Sky News: “You’ve got to remember Angela is a Manchester MP.

“It’s not that long ago we had that terrible situation in Manchester Arena with the Ariana Grande concert and police professionals have to take split-second decisions sometimes and Angela was talking about active terrorists there, not suspect terrorists.

More on Angela Rayner

“Those decisions rely on the professionalism of that individual highly trained in that moment and I don’t think we should be saying or doing things that undermine them in keeping the public safe.”

Ms Abbott tweeted: “Is Angela suggesting a mandatory death sentence for suspected (but not convicted) ‘terrorists’?”

Sonali Bhattacharyya, from Momentum, said: “These remarks are deeply concerning. It was this approach that led to the assassination of Jean Charles de Menezes.

“You can’t kneel for racial justice one day, then praise shoot-to-kill powers for the police the next.

“From regressive drug policy to abandoning the rule of law, Labour are trying to out-Tory the Tories.”

Jeremy Corbyn in parliament.
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Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has always been vocal in his opposition of ‘shoot to kill’ policies

Ms Rayner also laid out her views on how the police should “antagonise” criminals to ensure they are prosecuted.

The deputy leader said: “On law and order, I think if you are being terrorised by the local thug, I want a copper to come and sort them out.

“You should be hardline on things like that. It’s not just, ‘Oh you’ve been burgled here is a crime number’.

“I want you to beat down the door of the criminals and sort them out and antagonise them.

“That’s what I say to my local police … three o’clock in the morning and antagonise them.”

She said she was “plagued by anti-social behaviour” while growing up and added she wanted the police to “annoy the hell out of them until they realise disrupting lives is not ok – I’m quite hardline on that”.

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