U.K. Election Campaign Resumes as Terror Probe Reaches Libya
(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s political leaders will resume some election campaigning on Thursday in an effort to return to normal business after the deadly Manchester concert attack, as the investigation into the suicide bomber’s network spread to Libya.
Parties will resume local canvassing and UKIP, which is anti-immigration and backed Brexit, will unveil its manifesto, before a full relaunch of the campaign on Friday. Britain remains on high alert for another attack, with soldiers on the street in London. Prime Minister Theresa May will cut short her visit to Sicily for the Group of Seven summit.
With two weeks to go until the June 8 election, it’s likely to be a different style of campaign after the worst terrorist attack on British soil in more than a decade. On Monday morning, May had been on the defensive, denying that she’d reversed one of her flagship policies on care for the elderly. The murder that evening of 22 people, some of them children, at a pop concert moved her into the role of a leader at a time of national crisis, and politicians on all sides have been careful to show a united front.
Police continued to hunt accomplices of the suicide bomber after his father was was arrested in Tripoli on Wednesday. Eight men are in custody in the U.K. after a woman held in an overnight raid was released.
UKIP will publish its manifesto at 10:15 a.m. in London and politicians will take part in a nationwide minute’s silence at 11 a.m.
“Resuming democratic debate and campaigning is an essential mark of the country’s determination to defend our democracy and the unity that the terrorists have sought to attack,” opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement. “The British people are united in their resolve that terror will not prevail. It will not prevent us going about our daily lives or derail our democratic process.”
As campaigning gradually resumes for the election that polls indicate May will win, the premier travels to Brussels on Thursday for a NATO summit. She will urge the alliance to fully join in the fight against Islamic State and tackle what she’s called “poisonous” online material that radicalizes young Muslims, according to a U.K. government official.
She will also raise concerns with President Donald Trump about leaks to American media from U.S. officials of information from U.K. police about the ongoing probe in Manchester.
May was then due to be in Sicily for the G-7 meeting until Saturday but will now leave Italy on Friday evening, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the travel plans aren’t public. The decision to cut short her attendance at the G-7 was driven by the fact that Britain is under its gravest threat from terrorism in a decade, the official said.
“We must redouble our resolve to meet the threats to our shared security whether from terrorism or Russia,” May will tell the NATO summit participants, according to extracts of her address released by the U.K. official.