Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of cutting police funding and trying to ensure “public safety on the cheap”.
Speaking at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, the Labour leader criticised the government for cutting 21,000 police officers.
“Too many people don’t feel safe, and too many people aren’t safe - we’ve just seen the highest rise in recorded crime for a quarter of a century,” he said.
“After seven years of cuts, will the prime minister today admit that her government’s relentless cuts to police, probation services and social services have left us less safe? The reality is you can’t have public safety on the cheap.”
But May claimed crime was now at “record low levels” and said the government can “only pay for our public services if you have a strong economy”.
The prime minister also criticised the City Hall record Sadiq Khan and praised Boris Johnson. “When there was a Conservative mayor in London knife crime went down, now there’s a Labour mayor it’s going up,” she said.
And May accused Corbyn of being soft on crime for voting in faovur of “shorter sentences” for people caught carrying knives.
Corbyn replied: “I am very clear that crime is of course wrong.”
During the exchanges, Corbyn quoted Tory backbencher Philip Davies, who said the government was “not putting enough focus on police resources”.
The Labour leader received an unexpected thumbs up signal from Davies, who was sitting at the back of the Commons chamber directly opposite the Labour leader. “Where I lead the leader of the Opposition follows,” Davies later said. “There is clearly hope for him yet.”