The family of Jack Merritt, who was killed in the London Bridge terror attack, has denied that they have received any condolences from Boris Johnson despite statements saying otherwise from No.10.
Merritt’s father Dave accused the prime minister of using the attack as an “opportunity” after Johnson immediately called for tougher sentencing in its wake.
Labour’s John McDonnell said this was an example of the Tories’ “gutter politics” and said they should have shown the family more respect.
Speaking to Sky News, Merritt spoke of the immediate aftermath of the November 29 attack: “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.
“Instead of seeing a tragedy, Boris Johnson saw an opportunity, and he went on the offensive and started talking about extending the tariff for prisoners serving sentences with a maximum of 25 years.”
Just for the record, neither Boris Johnson nor anyone from No.10, Tory Central Office or anyone else has expressed their condolences towards my family since my son #JackMerritt was killed in London Bridge terror attack on 29 November, contrary to what No.10 told Sky News today.— David Merritt (@butwhatifitsall) December 10, 2019
Following those reports, the prime minister’s office issued a statement saying that Johnson had expressed his “deepest condolences” to the family, saying “no family should have to go through” the experience – and repeated Johnson’s campaigning lines on sentencing.
But Merritt said that the claimed condolences hadn’t happened, tweeting later: “Just for the record, neither Boris Johnson now anyone else from No.10, Tory central office or anyone else has expressed their condolences towards my family since my son Jack Merritt was killed in the London Bridge attack on 29 November, contrary to what No.10 told Sky News today.”
John McDonnell referred to the Merritt’s Sky interview as he spoke of Johnson’s lack of “sympathy, respect and empathy”.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I just wish we have had the Conservatives being honest with us. I just wish we hadn’t been having this gutter politics, fake websites, lies and smears.
“I just wish also they would have respected the parents of Jack Merritt who was killed on our streets.
“I wish Boris Johnson had not seen that as, to quote the father of Jack Merritt, as ‘an opportunity’. I just wish he’d shown sympathy and respect and empathy.
“I just wish Boris Johnson had shown empathy about a child being treated, suffering from pneumonia lying on a hospital floor. That’s the sort of politics the Conservatives now have under Johnson.”