Boris Johnson has appeared to backtrack on comments made about the London Bridge terrorist after he was accused of “lying and misleading” in the wake of the terror attack.
The Prime Minister had said terrorist Usman Khan was back on the streets because of laws introduced by a Labour “leftie government”.
But Boris, after facing criticism for “politicising” the tragedy, looked to have doubled back on the remarks today.
He said Khan – who was imprisoned for terror offences in 2012 and released halfway through his sentence last year – may have been “too tough to crack” in terms of rehabilitation.
“I’m just saying that in his case,” Mr Johnson told reporters, “I think that probably is true that people can’t be rehabilitated and I think it varies very widely.
“There are unquestionably some cases which are just too tough to crack and alas, he appears to have been one of them, and I’m afraid it was probably clear from the outset that that would be so.”
Asked what should be done with such offenders, Mr Johnson said: “I think you have to do what you can and a great deal of effort went in to try to change him and try to change his ways, but in the end better, I’m afraid, for the protection of the public, better for the protection of society and of us all, to keep him in [prison] rather than run the risk of letting him out.
“That’s what we’re proposing.”
Former Tory justice minister Phillip Lee, who has since defected to the Lib Dems, accused Mr Johnson of “lying and misleading” in the wake of the tragedy.