Ukip’s Deputy Chairman today claimed Theresa May “must bear some responsibility” for the Manchester terrorist attack as her party launched its election manifesto.
In an at times chaotic press conference, Suzanne Evans hit out at May’s record as Home Secretary as she called for a crackdown on law on order in wake of Monday’s tragic incident.
Evans also said the European Union “is equally culpable” for not allowing a “serious rethink about immigration” after the September 11 2001 attacks.
Within minutes of making the claims, Evans desperately tried to row back on her accusation, saying it was only “the terrorists” who were responsible for the attack that left 22 people dead.
During the press conference, Ukip supporters repeatedly shouted down journalists as they asked the party leadership if they were exploiting the tragedy for political gain.
One supporter shouted to BBC Political Editor Laura Kuennsberg: “Crawl back down your hole.”
In what was the first national campaign event after Monday night’s attack, Evans was asked why Ukip had dedicated a large part of its manifesto launch to “listing Theresa May’s failures as Home Secretary” if they did not believe she should “bear some responsibility for the security failings” which led to the incident.
Evans replied: “I think she must bear some responsibility. All politicians who voted for measures to make cuts bear some responsibility.
“As I said, when 9/11 happened we should have had a serious rethink about immigration. It didn’t happen.
“Of course the European Union is equally culpable as well and I also lay a lot of blame at the feet of the commissioners who are far too cowardly to face up to real issues in our country and what makes people safe.
“That has got to be the primary focus of any government, of any politician, and frankly if they’re not prepared to stand up and do what needs to be done to keep people safe then they are simply not fit to govern.
“I stand by what I said.”
When Ukip leader Paul Nuttall was asked if agreed with the comments, Evans tried to play down what she had said.
She said: “I didn’t say she must bear…no, I didn’t say what she must bear responsibility…the only person who is responsible, the people who were responsible for what happened in Manchester, are the terrorists – let me make that absolutely clear and I think sometimes we are too quick to blame other people but the terrorists in these situations.”