Mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim criticises politicisation of London Bridge attack
PUBLISHED: 13:52 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 02 December 2019
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The mother of a victim in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 has called for the media and politicians to stop politicising the deaths of victims of terrorism after the London Bridge attack.
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Boris Johnson has already been accused of "desperate politicisation" of the attack by a former MP of his party.
Speaking to Figen Murray, whose son died in the Manchester Arena bombing, Emma Barnett asks: "What is it like in the immediate aftermath when there are so many reports and of course in this instance, like before, there is a political backdrop?"
Figen Murray says: "Well first of all what happened on Friday should not be ever be used for any political game. There are some comments on Twitter which are inappropriate, in terms of grieving families it is just inappropriate to make comments like that.
"More importantly the media have a huge role to play, they mustn't, please, please do not put photos of this man all over the front pages - he doesn't belong there. Who really matters are the families that have been affected, the people who helped save others from being hurt, those who overrun this guy, but mainly the victims."
When asked whether the events of the 2017 Manchester bombing were used for political ends, Barnett said: "I was in deep shock and grief so I can't really remember to be honest."
Emma Barnett then referenced tweets made by the father of Jack Merritt, one of the two victims in the attack on London Bridge. He called for the death to not be used as justification for 'draconian sentences' as the Conservative party call for tougher punishment of terrorists.
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David Merritt tweeted "My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily", addding: "The problem is with the lack of supervision and rehabilitation post-release, not too-short sentences."
Figen Murray's son, Martyn Hett, was one of those who died in the Manchester Arena bombing. Murray said: "I don't think [David Merritt] should have to write that in the first place. I'm a little uncomfortable [with how politicians are talking about this].
"I've been asking for several years to implement Martyn's law - basically asking people who own public venues to wherever there's a big crowd of people, implement mandatory security.
"The emphasis always has to be on victims and their families."
Phillip Lee, former Tory justice minister who defected to the Liberal Democrats, said the prime minister had been "lying and misleading" in the wake of the attack by convicted terrorist Usman Khan which left two people dead.
"The desperate, sort of, politicisation of this by Boris Johnson - not a man who is known for details - wading into something which is actually quite complex is not appropriate.
"Particularly so shortly after the terrible loss of life of these two young people."
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