Local MP, Robert Largan, has today called on the Government to review urgently the ‘Prevent’ strategy, and implement the recommendations of the inquiry into the bombing of the Manchester Arena in 2017.
The ‘Prevent’ strategy aims to reduce the threat from terrorism by placing a safeguarding duty on public bodies to stop vulnerable people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
Mr Largan asked the Leader of the House of Commons:
“The first part of the inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing has just been published. As the House will know, on 22 May 2017, Islamist suicide bomber Salman Abedi murdered 22 people and injured hundreds more at the Manchester Arena. Despite the fact that Salman Abedi was known to security services as an Islamist extremist with multiple terrorist connections, he was not questioned when he returned from Libya just a few days before the attack. Given that and given similar failures to stop attacks in Liverpool and Southend, can we have an urgent debate on the Prevent strategy and the Government’s wider counter-terrorism strategy? We must not bury our head in the sand.”
The Leader of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, replied:
“I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and I welcome the Home Secretary’s publication of the consultation findings on the Protect duty. As he rightly highlights, the Manchester Arena attack was a tragic event, and it is so important that we bring forward legislation to support public safety while not placing excessive burdens on smaller businesses. The Government’s overriding priority must be, is and always will be keeping the people of the United Kingdom safe. Prevent is having an effect in stopping people being drawn into terrorism. Prevent is about working in areas where there are risks of radicalisation, and it offers support predominantly through local community partnerships.
“The independent review of Prevent is looking at the effectiveness of the Government’s strategy to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. The Government will carefully consider the findings and the recommendations of the review and assess the implications for the future of Prevent. I obviously note my hon. Friend’s points about the better monitoring of those who come into this country, which I am sure has been a great concern to many British people following these attacks. We have Home Office questions on Monday, so I urge him to raise this directly with the Home Secretary then.”
Robert Largan, MP for High Peak, commented:
“Growing up in Manchester, the attack was deeply personal to me. Friends of mine worked as stewards at Manchester Arena at the time, and I used to walk past the Arena every morning on my way to work.
“The lessons of this attack must be learned to significantly reduce the chance of similar tragedies occurring in future. This means reviewing the ‘Prevent’ strategy urgently.
“We need to monitor better those who arrive in this country wishing to radicalise our young people—and those who are at risk of radicalisation—to prevent them from turning Islamist toxic propaganda into hateful acts of terror.”