General election: Diane Abbott stumbles over terror report

6 Jun

Diane Abbott was asked by Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News about the Harris Report, commissioned by Sadiq Khan in October 2016, which gave 127 recommendations to improve London’s ‘readiness’ for terror.

Here is a transcript of the exchange:

Miss Abbott suffered another ¿car crash¿ TV interview as she was quizzed about plans to protect London from terrorist attack

Miss Abbott suffered another ¿car crash¿ TV interview as she was quizzed about plans to protect London from terrorist attack

Miss Abbott suffered another ‘car crash’ TV interview as she was quizzed about plans to protect London from terrorist attack

Diane Abbott: ‘I do think we need to revisit that report’

Dermot Murnaghan: ‘Which part of it?’

Abbott: ‘Well I just think it’s about preparedness and resilience.’

Murnaghan: ‘But he [Harris] makes some very specific recommendations which have not been acted on. Do you know what they are?’

Abbott: ‘Well I know…I mean he was talking about preparedness and resilience and I do think that we need to act; not necessarily on every specific recommendation.’ 

Murnaghan: ‘The report came out in October 2016 and Lord Toby Harris had some bullet points. What did you make of those? The specifics?  

Abbott: ‘I thought… because I know Toby Harris…I thought it was an important review and I think we should act on it but working with…’

Murnaghan: ‘But what should we act on? What do you think about the recommendations about various police forces?’

Abbott: ‘You mean the idea that they should work more closely together?’

Murnaghan: ‘No he suggested that they should amalgamate.’

Abbott: ‘I think that’s an interesting idea. I think you’d find resistence in some parts of London to the amalgamation.’

Murnaghan: ‘Have you actually read the report?’

Abbot: ‘I have’

Murnaghan: ‘What about physical resilience?’  

Abbott: ‘Yes, I think physical resilience is important…’

Murnaghan: ‘There was a specific aspect of physical resilience.’

Abbott: ‘I think that physical resilience is important.’

Murnaghan: ‘The specific aspect was he talked about putting up more barriers in the wake of the Nice attack. He mentioned that in October 2016.’

Abbott: ‘We’re now putting up barriers on..er…bridges…and you’d think we might have done that…before, particularly after what happened on Westminster Bridge. But now in the past few days we are putting up barriers on bridges.’

Murnaghan: ‘What about putting up barriers around all public spaces? Round parks, round Covent Garden, round places like that?’

Abbott: ‘Certainly in Westminster, where I work, there’s been a lot more barriers and bollards to protect us from terrorism and I think we need to consider that for other places in central London.’

Murnaghan: ‘Is it true that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s team have been trying to keep you off the airwaves?’

Abbott: ‘No, that’s why I’m here this evening.’

Murnaghan: ‘It’s said that you book your own appearances, that you don’t run them through the leader’s office?’

Abbott: ‘No no, we work very closely with the press office.’

Murnaghan: ‘But the two Js regard you as a bit of a liability after your brain fade on the police?’

Abbott: ‘I’m here. I’ve just come from doing a media interview and I’m going on to do another media interview. There’s no truth in the idea that I’m not in the media, particularly about on what happened on London Bridge.’

Murnaghan: ‘You think you are an asset, not a liability, to the front bench?’

Abbott: ‘I think I’m shadow home secretary and it would be very strange if the shadow home secretary wasn’t doing interviews like this.’

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