British political parties have announced they are suspending campaigning for the forthcoming general election after a suicide bombing in Manchester killed at least 22, and injured 60.The move to suspend campaigning follows the form established after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox during the independence referendum campaign in 2016 when all major parties announced they would cancel events out of respect.
A similar suspension took place during the recent French presidential election campaign after three French police officers were shot, one fatally, in central Paris in a suspected terror attack days before the vote.
Fifteen full days remain until the polls open for Britain’s general election.
Speaking after last night’s attack, British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
In a statement, the prime minister said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively – they have done an excellent job.
“Later on this morning, I will be attending Cobra, chaired by the Prime Minister, to collect more information – to find out more – about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.
“The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police. But I have two further things to add. The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.
“This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.”
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said “the whole country will grieve” after the attack and had agreed to suspend nationwide campaigning “until further notice”. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall joined others in releasing a statement assuring “prayers and thoughts” for those affected and declaring a suspension of campaigning.