Addressing media this morning, Prime Minsiter May said that while the string of terror attacks in the UK in recent months were not connected, they shared the ‘evil ideology of Islamist extremism’.
“Defeating this is one of the greatest challenges of our time”, she said. “It can only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our British values are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.”
She indicated pursuing international cooperation to prevent extremists from exploiting open platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages of hate, along with new reviews of anti-terror powers and laws.
British PM Theresa May: "It is time to say 'enough is enough.' When it comes to tackling extremism and terrorism, things need to change." pic.twitter.com/pHrYbMtF5H
She said there was “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country” adding that “we are experiencing a new trend in the threats we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism.”
Continued attacks by copy-cat extremists are expected, she said, not ones by connected networks.
She added anti-terror police had successfully disrupted five ‘credible plots' since the Westminster attack in March.
“Our country has made signifcant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public, but it’s time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”
May chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee earlier in response to the tragedy.
Three terrorists have been shot dead after killing seven people and more than 48 were injured when three suspects ploughed a vehicle into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking others in nearby tourist hotspot Borough Market. May also suspended election campaigning on Sunday.
“The Conservative Party will not be campaigning nationally today. We will review as the day goes on and as more details of the attack emerge,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.
May has since faced calls to cancel Thursday’s election, particularly coming less than three weeks after the Manchester bombing.
I am refusing to suspend the UKIP campaign because disrupting our democracy is what the extremists want pic.twitter.com/raISbO9LC5
Chris Cook, writing on Twitter, said: “We need to cancel or postpone this election.
“It is impossible to have an unbiased campaign when our news is being dominated by terrorism.” Roy Shepherdson added: “The General Election IS the target. Can’t let them win. Postpone it a week.” And Nick Applewhite said: “Something must be done to postpone election. Third attack in three months is horrifying.” However London mayor Sadiq Khan says he is not an advocate of postponing the election.
“One of the things that we can do is show that we aren’t going to be cowed, is by voting on Thursday and making sure that we understand the importance of our democracy, our civil liberties and our human rights,” he said. “I’m a passionate believer in democracy and making sure that we vote and we recognise actually that one of the things these terrorists hate is voting, they hate democracy.” In 2001, Tony Blair had to postpone an entire election by a month because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Blair had let it be known that he had pencilled in the election for May 3 to coincide with local council polls, but delayed the votes until June 7 because of the difficulty of campaigning while the animal disease was being contained.