Portsmouth politicians react to 'callous' Manchester bombing attack

Paramedic crews in Manchester after the bombing. Picture: PA
Paramedic crews in Manchester after the bombing. Picture: PA
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AN MP candidate has said the attack on innocent young people in Manchester was 'callous'.

Politicians in Portsmouth have condemned the killing of 22 people in a bombing in Manchester Arena as an attack on 'innocent young children'.

Flags at Portsmouth City Council will fly half-mast outside the Civic Offices in Guildhall Square today.

Flick Drummond was reacting to news of the suspected suicide bomber terror attack at a concert where singer Ariana Grande was performing.

Mrs Drummond, who said she will not be campaigning in Portsmouth South today, said: 'It's a terrible thing and callous considering the age group of the innocent young people enjoying themselves at a concert.

'It's absolutely horrendous and very, very sad.

Portsmouth South MP Tory candidate Flick Drummond

Portsmouth South MP Tory candidate Flick Drummond

'Campaigning is suspended today and our thoughts go out with all the families that are affected.'

Mrs Drummond, a Conservative candidate, said she was up most of the night watching the coverage of the horror attack, which has injured 59 people.

'There will be all the parents waiting outside, it must be horrendous for them not knowing if their children have been injured or not.

'Why would you want to kill innocent young people just at the beginning of their lives?'

She added it was 'very difficult' to deal with suicide bombers.

'All the bags were checked when they were going in but this was right at the end of the night, no-one notices someone going in with a bag,' she said.

'It's almost impossible to deal with.'

Posting on Twitter early this morning, Labour's Portsmouth South candidate Councillor Stephen Morgan said: 'My thoughts and prayers are with families and friends affected by events in Manchester tonight. Huge thanks to our emergency services.'

Penny Mordaunt, Tory Portsmouth North MP candidate, said the attack 'beggars belief' but it would not 'affect our way of life'.

She said: 'It is heart breaking and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

'It was targeted at children and its depravity beggars belief.

'Our country will come together, our fantastic emergency services, our NHS, our police and security services, will do their job and the entire nation will support Manchester and all those affected by this.

'It will not affect our way of life. It will not terrorise us.'

Liberal Democrat group leader in Portsmouth and MP candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'This is a horrific attack, deliberately targeted at young people.

'My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and those still waiting for news.

'I want to pay tribute to the emergency services, who worked through the night to secure the area and help the injured.

'Today, we are all united in grief, but we are also united in our determination to stand up to attacks like this one.'

City council leader Councillor Donna Jones said in a message on Twitter: 'So sad thinking of the victims and all their families and friends.'

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said the Manchester explosion was a 'barbaric' attack on some of the 'most vulnerable in our society'.

She said the intention of the attack was to 'sow fear' but stressed that it would not succeed.

In a statement, she said: 'I know that some people will only just be waking up to the news of the horrific attacks in Manchester last night.

'This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society - young people and children out at a pop concert.'