Threat of terrorism in London

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-07-15
Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Reference: 
2015/2200
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Tony Arbour
Category: 

Question

What measures have been taken to protect London following the tragic terrorist attacks in Tunisia?

Answer

Answer for Threat of terrorism in London

Answer for Threat of terrorism in London

Answered By: 
Tony Arbour

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Tony.  Obviously the events in Tunisia were absolutely tragic and appalling, and our thoughts are very much with the families of the victims and the survivors.  We do not know of any immediate read-across or implications for London from those events.  There is no particular indication of any such outrage being prepared against London, but it goes without saying that all sorts of work is done to prepare for a Tunisia- or Mumbai-style attack.  In fact, there was a big operation only the other day, which some of you may have spotted, Operation Strong Tower, where we had lots of Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) meetings and there was lots of work done by the police, fire, ambulance and everybody on how we would respond to machine-gun types of attacks, hostage-taking and so on.

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman)  It is quite clear that British subjects, who of course include Londoners wherever they are, appear to be targets of these murderers.  I wonder, Mr Mayor, if you can indicate what support you are getting from the Home Office to keep Londoners safe.  Indeed, it is clearly not just Londoners because the feature as far as Tunisia was concerned was that it was striking at the heart of the Tunisian economy, the tourist industry, as well as British citizens.

Clearly, tourism is very important in London as well and manifestly, therefore, if international tourists are affected by this kind of thing, London should have particular assistance.  I wonder if you can tell us what assistance we are getting from other international organisations to alert us to possible acts of terrorism.  Secondly, what assistance you are getting from the Home Office in terms of finance to ensure that Londoners and indeed visitors to London are kept safe?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  As you know, there is very considerable support from the Home Office for all kinds of terrorism in London.  The thing that we must never neglect is the front-line role played by the MPS in dealing with terror and in working with communities that might have people who are being infected by this toxic ideology and who might become home-grown terrorists.  A lot of the frontline work has to be done by the MPS, and that needs proper funding, and that is a point that we have made quite powerfully over the last couple of years.

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman)  I wonder if I can press you on this because your Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime has publicly said to the Home Secretary that he does not think she is providing sufficient funds for this.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  As you know, that was an argument that we had last year.  We then did get some funding, which was very welcome, and we will continue to press for funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman) Does that mean you think we are getting enough?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It is important to stress that funding for the MPS is absolutely paramount for the city and you can rely on me to be making that case in the discussions in the CSR.

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman)  Thank you, Chair.