British election campaigning to resume after Manchester bombing

Reuters News
Posted: May 24, 2017 12:43 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party will resume national campaigning for next month's election on Friday following a suicide bombing that killed 22 people in Manchester.

Parties suspended campaigning for the June 8 vote after Monday's attack at a concert venue. Labour, the Conservatives and the Scottish National Party said they would resume local-level campaigning on Thursday and national events on Friday.

"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," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement.

"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."

Opinion polls, the publication of which was also paused after the bombing, suggest May's Conservatives are on track to win the election, although her double-digit poll lead had been narrowing before the attack.

On Monday, May was forced to backtrack on one of her most striking election pledges after her party's opinion poll lead halved in just a few days, but the story was quickly wiped off the news agenda by the bombing. [nL8N1IO1G1]

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which postponed a plan to launch its election manifesto on Wednesday, said it would go ahead with publishing the policy document on Thursday instead.

"We are all horrified by the horrific events that took place in Manchester. Following those events it is right and proper that political parties suspended their campaigns for a short period as a mark of respect," UKIP leader Paul Nuttall said.

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"But we cannot be cowed or allow our way of life to be undermined by those who wish to do us harm...The best response we can make is to ensure that the democratic process continues and therefore I have decided that we must to go ahead with the launch of the UKIP general election manifesto tomorrow."

A spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats said they would not be campaigning on Thursday and would make a decision about Friday in due course.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Mark Heinrich)