As recently as last month, May’s Conservatives had led Labour by more than 20 percentage points in the polls, but that lead has been slowly shrinking, and more people disapprove than approve of the prime minister’s performance for the first time during her leadership. May, in her remarks, said the U.K. must destroy terrorism in its safe spaces—both online and in the real world. “Yes, that means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” she said. “But it also means taking action here at home.” Commentators have accused her of politicizing the attack ahead of the election, with many noting that she was home secretary in David Cameron’s Cabinet and oversaw drastic cuts in police personnel and budgets.
Corbyn, has in the past, been criticized for being soft on terrorism (he once said he favors talks with his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah). He was accused after the Manchester attack of politicizing terrorism when in remarks he pointed out the police cuts made when May was home secretary. Under a Labour government, he said, “there will be more police on the streets.” Corbyn also linked U.K. involvement in foreign wars with terrorism at home. “That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children,” he said, adding: “But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.” That’s a view that polls suggest resonates with a majority of Britons, both on the left and the right.