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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May 'must bear some responsibility' for Manchester terror attack, Ukip deputy chairwoman says

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Theresa May "must bear some responsibility" for the suicide bombing in Manchester, Ukip's deputy chairwoman has said.

Speaking as the party launched their General Election manifesto, Suzanne Evans said all politicians who voted in favour of cuts to policing - including the Prime Minister - should bear some responsibility.

However, just moments later, Ms Evans appeared to contradict herself when she said Mrs May did not bear responsibility for Monday's attack which left 22 people dead and 59 injured, saying only the terrorists were responsible.

Ms Evans insisted: "I didn't say she must bear, no, I didn't say what she must bear some responsibility for.

"The only person who is responsible, or people who were responsible, for what happened in Manchester are the terrorists, let me make that absolutely clear.

"I think sometimes we are perhaps a little bit too quick to blame other people but the terrorists in these situations.

"But the circumstances that allowed them their ideology to breed, that allowed their hatred to spread, politicians should have taken action on that long ago."

Ms Evans comments were made when she was questioned why she was listing what she perceived as the former home secretary's failures, if not to suggest that Mrs May should bear some responsibility for the security failing which led to the terror attack.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall and deputy leader Suzanne Evans launch their party's manifesto. Credit: ITV News

Ukip's manifesto launch marked a return to political campaigning following the attack after Ariana Grande's concert on Monday.

Party leader Paul Nuttall opened proceedings by offering condolences on behalf of the party to those affected by the attack.

He said that in targeting a concert attended primarily by children and teenagers there was "no depth to which these evil and warped individuals will stoop", branding radical Islam "a cancer that needs to be cut out".

Mr Nuttall put tackling Islamic extremism at the centre of the manifesto launch, promising a "more muscular approach" to target it and promote social integration.

Should Ukip come to power in the June 8 election, Mr Nuttall pledged that anyone who left the UK to fight for so-called Islamic State would lose their passport and citizenship, and would not be allowed to return to the country.

Speaking in the wake of the Manchester attack, Mr Nuttall said: "It is not the British way to turn a blind eye to evil in our midst.

"It is not good enough to light candles and proclaim that extremists will not beat us. Action is required on multiple fronts."

In the manifesto, the 40-year-old pledged an extra 20,000 police officers, 20,000 extra troops, 7,000 more prison officers and 4,000 extra UK border guards.

Ukip also pledged an extra £11 billion for the NHS and adult social care budgets by the end of next Parliament which would be funded by an £11 billion in a reduction to foreign aid spending, as health care had been "underfunded" for too long, Mr Nuttall said.

He continued that Ukip would keep the Government "honest" as it deals with Brexit and would introduce six "Brexit tests".

Mr Nuttall also hailed Ukip as "the party that stands up for gender equality, freedom of expression and equality before the law in every community within our country".

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall Credit: ITV News

Other key policies in the manifesto include apromise not to raise taxes, scrap VAT on takeaways and abolish the House of Lords.

The manifesto also backs a previous pledge to ban the wearing of burkas and reduce net migration for the next five years by moving towards a "one in, one out" immigration system.

The party held a break at 11am to observe a minute's silence.

Explaining his decision to resume campaigning a day ahead of the other main parties, Mr Nuttall said: "We cannot be cowed or allow our way of life to be undermined by those who wish to do us harm.

"These people hate the way we live, hate our freedom and hate our democracy.

"The best response we can make is to ensure that the democratic process continues."

Other key points from the Ukip manifesto include:

Brexit

  • Six key tests to pass to ensure Britain is "free of the EU", including supremacy of Parliament on laws, migration, fishing and trade.
  • Brexit negotiations to be completed by the end of 2019.
  • Guarantee of no divorce payment to the European Union.
  • A new public holiday on June 23 to mark the anniversary of the EU referendum, known as Independence Day.
  • Reinstate the blue British passport when the contract comes up for renewal in 2019.
Ukip say they have six tests to ensure the UK becomes 'free of the EU'. Credit: PA

Economy

  • Scrap HS2 rail project, the Barnett formula and reduce foreign aid spending to 0.2% of gross national income to fund public spending.
  • Raise personal tax allowance to £13,500 and increase 40% income tax threshold to £55,000. This will increase to £100,000 "when economic conditions allow".
  • Increase inheritance tax threshold to £500,000 per person, with a view to scrapping it altogether.
  • Women allowed to retire at 60.
  • Cut business rates by 20% for firms with a rateable value of less than £55,000.
  • Protect workers' rights and tighten rules on zero hours contracts.
  • Abolish the TV licence fee.
  • Remove VAT from domestic energy bills and scrap the green levies that subsidise renewable energy schemes.
  • Remove VAT from takeaway food and sanitary products.
  • Enforce the minimum and living wage.

Immigration

  • Aim to reduce net migration to zero over a five-year period, with the establishment of a Migration Control Commission.
  • Introduce an Australian-style points-based system and a work permit system for all applicants, except those from the Republic of Ireland.
  • Points-based system will "test the social attitudes of migration applicants to foster community cohesion and protect core British values".
  • Place a "moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration" in the five years after the country leaves the EU.
  • Introduce a seasonal worker scheme with six-month visas to help sectors such as agriculture.
  • Will "honour our obligations to bona fide asylum seekers" under UN rules.
  • Introduce a new International Visa System, with work, tourist and visitor, student, and family reunion visas.
  • New migrants will have to make tax and national insurance contributions for at least five consecutive years before being eligible for UK benefits or non-urgent NHS care.
  • No amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  • Right to stay for "law-abiding EU citizens living in the UK before Article 50 was triggered", but those who entered after March 29 2017 will "lose access to all benefits, including non-urgent healthcare".

Housing

  • Build up to 100,000 affordable factory-built homes each year which will be available to British citizens aged under 40 years old.
  • Set up a Housing Development Corporation to acquire brownfield sites and streamline planning laws to allow the HDC to build up to 100 homes on the average site.
  • Review into housing associations.
Ukip say they will build 100,000 affordable, factory-built homes a year. Credit: PA

Health and social care

  • Deliver an additional £9 billion a year to NHS England by 2021/22.
  • Spend £2 billion extra on social care.
  • Lift cap on medical school places from 7,500 to 10,000 and pay cost of tuition fees if students commit to working in the NHS for 10 years after qualification.
  • Scrap 1% pay cap for frontline NHS staff earning less than £35,000.
  • Crack down on non-urgent care for ineligible foreign nationals.
  • Get rid of hospital parking charges.
  • Boost spending on mental health by £500 million every year.
  • Improve mental health support for veterans and serving military personnel.

Education and childcare

  • End sex education in primary schools.
  • Open a grammar school in every town with transfer exams up to 16 to give more children the chance to attend a grammar.
  • Stop paying tuition fees for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into a graduate-level job within five years.
  • First aid training will be a statutory requirement for all children.
  • Boost childcare provision and extend the primary school day by offering childcare from 8am to 6pm during term time.

Elderly and disabled people

  • Protect winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and prescriptions for pensioners.
  • Retain triple lock pension.
  • Scrap the bedroom tax, preserve disability benefits and review work capability assessments.
  • Increase the Carer's Allowance from £62.70 per week to £73.10 a week, to match the higher level of Job Seeker's Allowance.
Ukip have pledged to retain the triple lock pension. Credit: PA

Crime and justice

  • Screening for girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and toughen up sentence for perpetrators.
  • Ban wearing the niqab and burqa in public places
  • Tougher measures to prevent radicalisation in schools
  • Declare new bank holidays on St George's Day (April 23) in England and St David's Day (March 1) in Wales.
  • Official documents will only be published in English and, if appropriate, Welsh or Gaelic.
  • Train 20,000 more police and employ 7,000 more prison officers.
  • Boost "stop and search" techniques to tackle knife crime.
  • Opt out of European Arrest Warrant
  • Repeal licensing laws allowing more relaxed opening hours for pubs, clubs and bars.

International and defence

  • Reduce foreign aid spending to 0.2% of national spending and close down the Department for International Development.
  • Offer the people of Gibraltar a referendum on becoming fully British, and having their own MP in the House of Commons.
  • Avoid British involvement in foreign conflicts.
  • Retain Britain's nuclear deterrent.
  • Create new hospital ship to deliver relief in conflict zones and humanitarian crises.
  • Spend 2% of GDP on defence, boosting defence spending by an additional £1 billion per year by the end of the parliament.
  • Offer better support for veterans through a newly-created Veterans' Administration, including fast-track access to NHS care.

Transport

  • Remove existing road tolls and scrap the HS2 high-speed rail project.
  • Prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees or emissions zone charging while retaining the scrappage scheme, which gives diesel car owners up to £2,000 to get rid of their vehicles.
  • Freeze air passenger duty at current levels.
Ukip want to scrap HS2. Credit: PA

Environment and farming

  • Prioritise use of brownfield land over greenfield land for housing.
  • Major infrastructure projects will be required to give greater respect to natural environments.
  • Review possibility of bottle deposit scheme.
  • Farming subsidies capped at £120,000 per year.
  • Tighten regulation of Jewish and Islamic butchery, bring in CCTV to abattoirs and label all meat with method of slaughter.
  • Repeal the Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro.

Democracy

  • Abolish the House of Lords and create an English Parliament in its place with its own First Minister and 375 elected members, similar to the devolved administrations.
  • Reduce the size of the House of Commons to 325 MPs.
  • Reform voting in favour of a more proportional electoral system.