This article was first published on Mike Gapes’ blog.
I am absolutely appalled and devastated by the recent terrorist attack in Manchester. The deliberate targeting of our children and young people is the act of an evil criminal. My heart goes out to all those affected and their loved ones.
I would like to pay tribute to our emergency services and security forces for their swift response following the attack, and to the local cabbies who selflessly helped people leave the area and reunite with their familie
The true extent of this attack is still unknown and investigations are still underway. The Metropolitan Police Service will be increasing the numbers of officers on duty (armed and unarmed) to provide a visible presence across London.
These barbaric murders are a dreadful reminder of the ongoing terror threat we face. Our police and security services do an incredible job keeping us safe. But the terrorists only need to get through once. Several major attacks have been prevented since the 7/7 London bombings. We know from recent attacks in other European countries that the terrorists are still active and want to murder and maim innocent people if they get the chance.
If you see any suspicious activity, report it. Nobody is better placed to detect something that is out of place in their communities than the people living in them. If you are concerned, please call the anti-terrorism hotline on 0800 789 321 or call police on 999.
It is vital that all communities pull together to support each other and that we do not allow murderous terrorists to undermine our vibrant democratic society. We must give reassurance to all and make efforts to return to normality. Today the national party election campaign will remain paused, but locally we must get back to work and continue to fight for the very democracy the terrorists want to undermine and overthrow.
Mike Gapes is standing for re-election in Ilford South.