THE main political parties all suspended general election campaigning yesterday in line with PM May’s edict after Monday evening’s suicide terror bombing in Manchester.
Yesterday morning, May chaired an emergency Cobra meeting in London on the terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert, which left 22 concert goers, among them children, dead and more than 50 injured.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other senior politicians all expressed their horror at the attack.
The SNP postponed the launch of its manifesto which was due yesterday. Speaking in Downing Street after the Cobra committee meeting, May said: ‘The police and security services believe they know the identity of the perpetrator but at this stage of their investigations we cannot confirm his name.’
She said the police cordon around Manchester Arena and Victoria station ‘will be in place for some time. The station is closed and will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway.’
May confirmed: ‘And as I announced last night the General Election campaign has been suspended. I will chair another meeting of Cobra later today.’ May then left for Manchester for talks with police chiefs ahead of the Cobra meeting in London.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility and later in the morning Greater Manchester Police said a 23-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the bomb attack. Labour leader Corbyn said he was ‘horrified’ by the incident and had been briefed about the operational response by Greater Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham (see page 2).
Burnham told reporters yesterday that ‘Manchester does not cancel things’ and that it was important to stand together and ‘arrangments are being made for a vigil this evening’ in Albert Square. The Lib Dems, UKIP, Green Party and Plaid Cymru also announced that they will be ceasing campaigning until further notice.
French president Macron and EC president Jean-Claude Juncker expressed their condolences and solidarity with the UK in the face of the terror threat. The White House said US President Donald Trump, who is currently on a visit to Israel, was being updated on the situation.
Australian Prime Minister Turnbull said his country stood with the UK as ‘steadfast allies in freedom’s cause’. Russian President Putin expressed his condolences and called for joint working against terrorism.
London’s Victoria coach station was evacuated yesterday morning as police investigated a suspect package. A police cordon was temporarily put in place around the coach station during the morning rush hour, next to the major train and Tube stations. Buckingham Palace Road and other surrounding roads were closed off as the Met Police investigated and made sure a safe area was set up.