Boris Johnson saw chance to ‘score points’ after London Bridge – victim’s father

Boris Johnson saw an opportunity to score political points in the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack when most people saw a tragedy, the father of one of the victims has said.

Dave Merritt's 25-year-old son Jack died alongside Saskia Jones, 23, in the attack by Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers' Hall in central London last month.

Mr Merritt said there had been no attempts made to contact the family from either the Prime Minister or Downing Street. He said the family had turned down a meeting with the Home Secretary.

Following the attack, Mr Johnson spoke of his anger and claimed that scrapping early release from prison would have stopped convicted terrorist Khan killing two people.

He said that because the "broken hung parliament was preoccupied with blocking Brexit", the Government was unable to make the changes required to keep violent offenders and terrorists in jail for longer.

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Merritt said: "What was required was just a dignified approach whereby the politicians would express their regrets, express their condolences to the people affected, and would then get on with campaigning in the election. It wasn't an election issue.

David Merritt
Screengrab of David Merritt talking about his son's death (Sky News/PA)

"Where most of us were watching this and seeing a tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes. Instead of seeing a tragedy Boris Johnson saw an opportunity and he went on the offensive.

"He saw an opportunity to score some points in the election – he immediately said 'oh this is Labour's fault, they allowed this to happen, they had this early release policy' and so on.

"At that point... well I had to say something."

Mr Merritt was asked how he felt about his son's picture being used alongside headlines about changing sentencing and comments from the Prime Minister.

He replied: "Pretty much as you would expect. It just reinforced my views and my feelings about the way in which this situation was being exploited.

Incident on London Bridge
Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed (Met Police/PA)

"It just struck me as being crass and insensitive and, as we've already said, Jack would have been extremely upset at the way in which things were developing."

It was put to Mr Merritt that some people may say that he himself has politicised his son's death due to not liking Boris Johnson.

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London Bridge terror incident
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London Bridge terror incident
Jack Merritt's mother Anne (far left), girlfriend Leanne O'Brien (centre) and father David (second right) during a vigil at the Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones after the two of them were killed in Friday's London Bridge terror attack.
Jack Merrit's father (centre) attends a vigil at The Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones after they were killed in Friday's London Bridge terror attack.
People at a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
(left to right) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn take part in a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking at a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Tributes to Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, on London Bridge, who were both stabbed to death by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event they were supporting in London on Friday. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday December 2, 2019. The father of London Bridge terror victim Jack Merritt has said his son would be "livid" that his death is being used to further an "agenda of hate". See PA story POLICE LondonBridge . Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Second former Cambridge University student killed at London Bridge named
Second former Cambridge University student killed at London Bridge named
Review under way after Cambridge alumni confirmed as London attack victims
A photograph of the first victim to be named, Jack Merritt, is pictured among floral tributes left close to London Bridge in the City of London, on December 1, 2019, following the November 29 deadly terror incident. - Britain's Boris Johnson said on December 1 the security services were stepping up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early from prison, as the London Bridge attack became embroiled in the election campaign. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers stand inside a cordon beside floral tributes left close to London Bridge in the City of London, on December 1, 2019, following the November 29 deadly terror incident. - Britain's Boris Johnson said on December 1 the security services were stepping up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early from prison, as the London Bridge attack became embroiled in the election campaign. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Floral tributes for victims of the terrorist attack, including Jack Merritt, left on London Bridge in central London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Floral tributes for victims of the terrorist attack, including Jack Merritt, left on London Bridge in central London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 1, 2019. See PA story POLICE LondonBridge. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic personnel on London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu speaks to the media at New Scotland Yard in Westminster, London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick (centre left), Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (centre right) and Commissioner of the City of London Police, Ian Dyson (right) on London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, and was shot dead by police.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Commissioner of the City of London Police Ian Dyson, as he attends London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Home Secretary, Priti Patel (right) attend London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick (left), Home Secretary, Priti Patel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Commissioner of the City of London Police, Ian Dyson (right) attend the London Bridge crime scene in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the London Bridge crime scene in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People fleeing from Borough Market, central London following a police incident.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
A police officer moves an uninvolved person away from a cordon after an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People running away from Borough Market in London after police to them to leave the area.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People are evacuated from London Bridge in central London following a police incident.
A member of the police, outside a newsagent, in the vicinity of Borough Market and London Bridge.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from London Bridge and Borough Market, London.
An armed police officer outside Borough Market after an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from London Bridge and Borough Market, London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from Borough Market, London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
A white lorry parked across London bridge in central London following a 'terror related' incident.
A police boat on the River Thames near London bridge following a 'terror related' incident.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Gracechurch Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Office workers watching police near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
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He replied: "I would say that if anybody has a right to say something about this situation then it's me and his family.

"We have lost Jack. Jack can't speak for himself anymore. Had there been no comment in the way that it was made, then I wouldn't have said anything.

"I would have just carried on grieving and helping to support my family.

"I think the way that it happened and the fact that it was used in such a political way, and I could see the good work that Jack did and that his colleagues did starting to perhaps unravel, it was important that somebody said something.

"And that just happened to be me. And obviously my son's been killed, people are going to listen to me."

Mr Merritt said his son knew Khan, adding: "It makes it more unbelievable because, again, I can't... imagine someone who had been befriended and helped by someone like Jack could then in a fairly calculating way kill them."

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