26 May 2024

Cleverly ‘particularly sorry’ for Martyn’s Law not being passed before election

26 May 2024

James Cleverly has said he is “particularly sorry” to the mother of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing attack for being unable to introduce Martyn’s Law before the General Election.

The Home Secretary spoke after Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett was among the 22 killed in the 2017 blast at the Ariana Grande concert and has been campaigning to get the law passed, said she felt “misled” by Rishi Sunak this week.

Ms Murray said she felt “let down” after the Prime Minister told her on Wednesday, just hours before he called the election, that he would introduce the legislation before the parliamentary summer break.

Martyn’s Law would require venues and local authorities in the UK to have training requirements and preventative plans against terror attacks.

Asked whether the Government would apologise to Ms Murray, Mr Cleverly told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme: “Of course we’re sorry that not all the legislation has passed, and I’m particularly sorry that we weren’t able to get Martyn’s Law on the statute books before the General Election.

“But when I discussed with the family and the campaign group that it might straddle a General Election, that if we re-entered government we would prioritise this to get it on because it has taken longer than we would have wanted.

“And I said there is cross-party support, and I said I cannot envisage a world where this is not enacted, even if it is delayed because of a General Election.”

Ms Murray met Mr Sunak for closed-doors talks about the legislation on Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of her son’s death, after completing a 200-mile walk to Downing Street as part of her campaign.

Speaking to Adam Boulton on Times Radio on Sunday, she said the Prime Minister had “hesitated” before shaking hands with her at their meeting as he promised to introduce the law change before summer.

With Parliament prorogued and campaigning for the July 4 General Election under way, Ms Murray said she felt “misled” and that the election announcement put everything they had discussed “into question”.

She said: “So the meeting was an interesting one because the Prime Minister promised me that he will bring Martyn’s Law – introduce it into Parliament before summer recess –  and I actually repeated ‘you promise?’ and he said, ‘yes, I promise’, so I actually reached my hand out and said, ‘can we shake on this?’ and there was this split second of hesitation, which I found a bit puzzling.

“It was only a very short moment, but I was a bit confused about that sort of hesitation.”

She continued: “I don’t feel he lied to me. I feel he misled me.

“He could have maybe worded it slightly different so that I would have left the meeting a little disappointed, but not misled.”

Mr Sunak said on Friday he had not deceived Ms Murray because he could still honour the commitment, telling journalists accompanying him on his whistlestop two-day tour of the four nations: “I said by summer recess and that will still be possible.

“The election is in the first week of July. Parliament will reconvene immediately after that, so there will still be time to bring that law in before summer recess, and that’s what I remain committed to doing.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer avoided making a guarantee that his party would bring it to Parliament ahead of the summer recess, but said he would introduce the law “as a priority” should he replace Mr Sunak in Number 10.

Ms Murray told Times Radio she does not want an apology from the Prime Minister, but hopes the party that wins the election sticks to the pledges on passing the legislation.

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