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Angela Rayner wants cops to ‘shoot terrorists first and ask questions later’

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner

On 17 February, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner announced the party’s “hardline” approach to law and order. In a shocking statement, the deputy leader urged terror police to “shoot first” and “ask questions second”. People soon took to Twitter to express outrage at Rayner’s disgraceful comments.

Shoot first

Appearing on Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast, Rayner said:

On things like law and order I am quite hardline. I am like, shoot your terrorists and ask questions second.

Explaining her “hardline” approach to law and order, Rayner added:

I want you to beat down the door of the criminals and sort them out and antagonise them. That’s what I say to my local police … three o’clock in the morning and antagonise them.

Black Lives Matter?

The Black Lives Matter movement saw a resurgence in 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd in the US. Anti-racist campaigners in the UK highlighted the police’s disproportionate criminalisation and use of force against Black people in this country, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities or experiencing mental health crises.

A central demand of the anti-racist movement remains a move away from punitive and draconian reactions to criminal justice issues, towards healing and community-centred solutions.

Read on...

Rayner was among the countless neoliberals to perform solidarity with the anti-racist movement at its peak. In 2020, she expressed solidarity by taking the knee in a bizarre photo opportunity with Labour leader Kier Starmer.

Pointing out Rayner’s bare-faced hypocrisy on the matter, independent media outlet Another Angry Voice shared:


And The Canary‘s former editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza said:

Indeed, Rayner’s latest remarks echo Tony Blair’s ‘tough on crime’ approach to criminal justice issues. Blair’s punitive anti-crime policies and legislation created a boom in England and Wales’ prison population, and criminalised many people suffering from addiction and experiencing mental health issues.

Further, evidence demonstrates that such approaches fail to reduce crime.

The policy already exists

Others took to Twitter to highlight the fact that the UK’s terror police already enacts Rayner’s suggested ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ policy. Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal shared: Former chief prosecutor for North West England Nazir Afzal shared:

This is exemplified by the tragic case of Jean Charles de Menezes. In 2005, armed police mistook the Brazilian electrician for a suicide bomber, shooting him seven times at close range and killing him in Stockwell station.

Raising this point, Novara‘s co-founder James Butler tweeted:

Sam Browse shared:

And there was this reminder on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry:

Another bad day for Labour

Research consultant and Hackney-based activist Heather Mendick set out the only logical response to Rayner’s heinous remarks:

All in all, this represents a new low for Starmer’s increasingly right-wing Labour Party.

Featured image via Sky News/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. This is outrageous! The definition of a “terrorist” changes from day to day; you can called a “terrorist” if you say that “I think that Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians is excessively heavy-handed”; you can even be called a terrorist if you acknowledge that Palestinians exist! (Israel’s position is that they do not); now Angela Rayner wants Tahtcher’s paramilitary stormtroopers to kick down my door and shoot me on sight withough as much as shouting “Freeze!” first! I’m ashamed that I voted for her as deputy leader!

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