This week we have seen yet another cowardly act of Terrorism, this time on the Belgium capital of Brussels where the targets were people at the Airport and on the Metro. The current death toll is 34 and 250 wounded, my condolences go to the victims, their families and the Belgium people. Over 100 hundred years ago we in Britain came to Belgium’s aid when their need was great, today, I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we support and stand with them once again.
Since the attacks our Prime Minister and other world leaders such as Presidents Hollande and Obama have condemned the attacks and offered their help and support. David Cameron has subsequently sent specialist Police to help Belgian forces with their investigations into the horrific bombings and bring all those involved to justice.
Our Prime Minister has also chaired two meetings of ‘COBRA’, the Government’s crisis management body, with fellow Cabinet colleagues, to discuss the UK’s security, evaluate the current risk to our country and consider what other measures need to be taken to keep us all safe. The terror threat level in the UK has been ‘Severe’ since August 2014, it will only be at the highest when our Security Services have intelligence which says an attack is imminent. As always our Police and Intelligence Services are on high alert.
I want to reassure you that the Government and the Intelligence Services are doing all they can to make sure the UK and its citizens are kept safe, indeed over recent years they have foiled many attempted terrorist plots on British soil. In the wake of the atrocities in Paris the Government invested millions of pounds more in our Security Services and made provisions for 2,000 new staff in MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to ensure these agencies are fully resourced. Furthermore we are cooperating with our NATO allies, sharing Security information and also working together to reduce and ultimately destroy the Daesh threat. This is further helped by the Government’s commitment to spend 2% of GDP on Defence.
Each of us can play our part by being vigilant and reporting anything or anyone suspicious to the police, the tip off in Belgium came from a taxi driver. The Koran teaches love and compassion to all and I urge the Muslim community to protect its vulnerable members from being brainwashed with extremist views.
The Belgium people and the way in which they have faced this tragedy is a testament to their strength and courage, they are an example to all of us and they remind us Terrorism will never prevail as long as we stay united against this common enemy.
(This article was originally written for the Burton Mail).