LONDON — Olympics security will not be compromised, Home Secretary Theresa May has said, after it emerged that 3,500 extra troops would be needed.
She said it was only discovered yesterday – 16 days before the Games begin – that contractor G4S did not have enough trained security staff.
The troops are in addition to 13,500 already agreed.
Labour MP Keith Vaz said: “G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops.”
May addressed the House in response to an urgent question from Vaz, who said he wanted assurances that visitors to the Games would be safe.
“Can the home secretary give the House this assurance: that she is now satisfied that all the changes she’s announced today will mean that this, what we hope will be the greatest Games ever staged, will be done securely for the safety of the visitors and the British people?”
May responded: “I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the Games and the threat level remains unchanged.
“And let me reiterate that there is no question of Olympic security being compromised.”
May said that Britain had the “finest military personnel in the world”.
“They stand ready to do their duty whatever the nation may ask. Our troops are highly skilled and highly trained and this task is the most important facing our nation today,” she said.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the scale of the problem should have been recognised sooner.
“Everyone wants us to have a safe and successful Olympics and we support the home secretary’s decision to bring in extra military support in the circumstances she’s in, and we also recognise, given the scale of the Olympic challenge, of course no-one can guarantee everything will go smoothly, but I have to say to her this really looks like another huge Home Office shambles.” (BBC)