We cannot let terrorism win or let terrorism divide us

It has been a dreadful and momentous week. Campaigning in terms of the local, Police and Crime Commissioner and Mayoral elections in the North West – the Referendum continues apace and it has been a real pleasure to work with activists across the region to spread the ‪#‎Team‬ Labour message, these are vital elections to win for Labour.

However, everything has been overshadowed by the loss of life and injuries in the terrorist atrocities in, amongst others across the globe, Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels and Lahore.

Myself and our teams were in Brussels at the time of the attacks at Brussels International Airport and Maalbeek Metro Station, close to the EU buildings, and it took 40 minutes for us to locate staff on their way into work and going home or on holiday for Easter. I had already reached Parliament at the time of the attacks. An immediate response is available here via an interview I did while in lock-down with local radio (https://goo.gl/dnluLy). As the Parliament locked down the city entered 3 days of mourning where a bustling city became still. I am really grateful to all those who got in contact from the North West to find out if we were OK. But our thoughts and prayers go the families and friends of those killed and injured.

Then came the sentencing of Radovan Karadzic by the International Crime Tribunal for the horror of genocide with much debate on social media as whether 40 years is enough, even though 40 years for a 70 year old is in effect a life sentence.

Then the horrors of Lahore with the deliberate targeting of children at play with their families. The links between Lahore and the North West of England are proud and profound and our hearts are with our friends in Pakistan and their communities and families back here in the region. I know much partnership work is happening with a key role being played by my fellow MEP, Afzal Khan MEP, in his role as the Socialists and Democrats’ special representative to Muslim communities.

We cannot let terrorism win or let terrorism divide us.