22 May 2024

Mother of terror attack victim ends 200-mile walk with plea to Rishi Sunak

22 May 2024

The mother of a Manchester Arena bombing victim has completed a 200-mile walk to Downing Street and delivered a letter to the Prime Minister as part of a campaign for new terror legislation.

Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, set off from the arena at 11am on May 7 with the aim of looking Rishi Sunak “in the eye” and calling for the implementation of Martyn’s Law.

The law, named in tribute to the 29-year-old who was one of 22 people killed at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017, would require venues and local authorities in the UK to have training requirements and preventative plans against terror attacks.

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

Finishing her walk at No 10 on the seventh anniversary of her son’s death, Ms Murray urged Mr Sunak to set a date for the law to be introduced to Parliament.

She said: “To be fair to the Government, we had Covid 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.

“I’m hoping that Keir Starmer is also supportive of it (Martyn’s Law), which I think he will be because when we had the very first press conference about Martyn’s Law back in Manchester we actually had cross-party support.

“Nobody objected to it and hopefully that continues.

“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.”

Ms Murray sat in the public gallery in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions and was due to meet Mr Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir afterwards.

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

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.”

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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