Home NEWS Jack Merritt’s dad says Boris Johnson saw London Bridge attack as ‘oppportunity’

Jack Merritt’s dad says Boris Johnson saw London Bridge attack as ‘oppportunity’

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The father of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt, has slammed the prime minister for the way he has handled his son’s killing.

Dave Merritt said Boris Johnson saw an opportunity to score political points in the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack, when most people saw a tragedy.

Jack Merritt died alongside Saskia Jones, 23, in the attack by Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers’ Hall in central London last month.

Mr Merritt also hit out at the prime minister because there had been ‘no attempts made to contact the family from either himself or Downing Street’.

He said the family had turned down a subsequent meeting with the Home Secretary.

Following the attack, Mr Johnson spoke of his anger and sought to blame the Labour party for Khan’s early release.

Mr Johnson said that because the ‘broken hung parliament was preoccupied with blocking Brexit’, the Government was unable to make the changes required to keep violent offenders and terrorists in jail for longer.

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Merritt said: ‘What was required was just a dignified approach whereby the politicians would express their regrets, express their condolences to the people affected, and would then get on with campaigning in the election. It wasn’t an election issue.

‘Where most of us were watching this and seeing a tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes. Instead of seeing a tragedy Boris Johnson saw an opportunity and he went on the offensive.

‘He saw an opportunity to score some points in the election – he immediately said “oh this is Labour’s fault, they allowed this to happen, they had this early release policy” and so on.

‘At that point… well I had to say something.’

Mr Merritt was asked how he felt about his son’s picture being used alongside headlines about changing sentencing and comments from the Prime Minister.

He replied: ‘Pretty much as you would expect. It just reinforced my views and my feelings about the way in which this situation was being exploited.

‘It just struck me as being crass and insensitive and, as we’ve already said, Jack would have been extremely upset at the way in which things were developing.’

Mr Merritt was asked how he felt about claims from some people that he himself had politicised his son’s death due to not liking Boris Johnson.

He replied: ‘I would say that if anybody has a right to say something about this situation then it’s me and his family.

Caption: MOTHER 'ELATED' OVER DECISION TO REVIEW RELEASE HELEN MCCOURT'S KILLER Pictures: PA/Chris Neill/Daily MailMother of Helen McCourt ‘elated’ after decision to review killer’s release

‘We have lost Jack. Jack can’t speak for himself anymore. Had there been no comment in the way that it was made, then I wouldn’t have said anything.

‘I would have just carried on grieving and helping to support my family.

‘I think the way that it happened and the fact that it was used in such a political way, and I could see the good work that Jack did and that his colleagues did starting to perhaps unravel, it was important that somebody said something.’

Mr Merritt said his son knew Khan, adding: ‘It makes it more unbelievable because, again, I can’t… imagine someone who had been befriended and helped by someone like Jack could then in a fairly calculating way kill them.’

A Conservative spokesman said: ‘The PM has expressed his deepest condolences to Mr Merritt for his tragic loss – an experience no family should have to go through.

‘The PM’s view remains it is “extraordinary and wrong” that Khan had been released halfway through his prison sentence and has long argued that sentencing should be tougher for violent and extremist offenders.’

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