Manchester Arena bombing victim’s mother urges Sunak to beef up UK terror security

UK

The mother of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing has walked from the venue to Downing Street to deliver a letter calling for new terror laws.

Figen Murray’s son, Martyn Hett, was one of 22 people killed when terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

Ms Murray arrived outside No 10 on the seventh anniversary of her son’s death and handed over a letter calling for the implementation of Martyn’s Law.

Image:
Martyn Hett

She set off from the arena at 11am on 7 May with the aim of looking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “in the eye” and calling for the bill, which would require UK venues and local authorities to have training requirements and preventative plans against terror attacks, to be introduced to Parliament.

She is meeting Mr Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday.

She said: “To be fair to the government, we had COVID-19 and changes in leadership – those delays didn’t help. But the draft legislation has been made for quite some time.

“And that is the reason I’m here because I’m not sure why it’s delayed and I’m really expecting the prime minister to give me an answer today as far as the date is concerned.

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Mother’s walk to demand new law

“Today is the seventh anniversary of Martyn’s death and it’s important because I don’t want any other family to go through what we went through.

“Martyn’s Law is legislation to keep people safe in venues when they go out and about and it has to be mandated sooner rather than later.”

Image:
Figen Murray and her husband Stuart speaking to Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer. Pic PA

Ms Murray sat in the public gallery in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions and was due to meet the party leaders afterwards.

Mr Sunak said he looked forward to meeting her, adding: “I’d like to pay tribute to Figen Murray… for her courage and bravery, campaigning in her son Martyn’s memory.”

Image:
Figen Murray (front right) in Hinckley, Leicestershire, during the walk. Pic: PA

Sir Keir said: “I also welcome Figen Murray. She’s campaigning for Martyn’s Law which we must make a reality as soon as possible.”

Read more:
Injured survivors from Manchester Arena bombing suing MI5
Could MI5 have prevented Manchester bombing?
The security failings at Manchester Arena

Martyn’s Law was a commitment in the Conservative manifesto in 2019 and was followed by public consultations.

A Home Affairs Select Committee in July 2023 criticised a draft of the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill which it said would put small businesses and organisations at risk of closure and fail to “make a significant impact” on preventing attacks.

But Ms Murray claimed the committee reached a “dangerous and misguided” conclusion after scrutinising the draft legislation.

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