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May warns political discourse going down wrong path ‘towards much darker place’

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May has warned British political discourse is being driven down the wrong path.

In a major speech in London before she quits Downing Street next week, Mrs May said there had been a "coarsening" of debate which could be pushing the country to a "much darker place".

Mrs May said: "Today, an inability to combine principles with pragmatism and make a compromise when required seems to have driven our whole political discourse down the wrong path.

"It has led to what is, in effect, a form of absolutism.

"One which believes that if you simply assert your view loud enough and long enough you will get your way in the end.

"Or that mobilising your own faction is more important than bringing others with you.

"This is coarsening our public debate."

Theresa May will leave office later this month. Credit: PA

Mrs May said: "Some are losing the ability to disagree without demeaning the views of others.

"This descent of our debate into rancour and tribal bitterness, and in some cases even vile abuse at a criminal level, is corrosive to the democratic values which we should all be seeking to uphold.”

The PM added: "Words have consequences.

"And ill words that go unchallenged are the first step on a continuum to ill deeds.

"Towards a much darker place where hatred and prejudice drive not only what people say but also what they do."

Mrs May also spoke about the arrest of Hashem Abedi, the brother of the Manchester bomber.

Welcoming the extradition of Hashem Abedi, Mrs May said: "This is clearly an important moment in the investigation. I hope it is a welcome step for the loved ones of all the victims."