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Mon, 13 July 2020

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Boris Johnson says he is 'appalled and sickened' by Reading terror attack

Boris Johnson says he is 'appalled and sickened' by Reading terror attack

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man in relation with the attack

3 min read

Boris Johnson has said he is "appalled and sickened" by the Reading attack which left three people dead and three others seriously injured.

The Prime Minister said his thoughts are with victims of the stabbing attack in Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening as he praised the police for their "bravery" in apprehending a suspect.

A 25-year old man has been arrested in connection with the attack which has now been declared as a terrorist incident.

Speaking to BBC News on Sunday, Mr Johnson said the Government would take further action if there were "lessons" to learn about the handling of the case.

"I'm appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way and our thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today," he said.

"I've obviously talked to the chief constable at Thames Valley police, thanked him and his officers for their bravery in tackling the suspect.

"We now have someone in custody. The police must get on with their job, get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and so it would be difficult really to comment in detail."

He added: "Except to say this: if there are lessons we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases, then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary."

Responding to the comments, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party would be willing to work with the Government to establish if there needed to be "changes to the law" in the wake of the attack.

"It's horrific that it happened at all wherever it happened, and across Reading, across the country there will be communities really upset and worried about this, united in their grief," Sir Keir said.

"All of our thoughts are with those who have lost someone in this."

He added: "It's very important that the investigation runs its course but I will want to work with the Government in response to this, to look at whether there’s lessons that can be learned, whether there need to be changes to the law.

"But I think as a constructive opposition, I will want to speak to the Prime Minister to discuss how together, we can improve the response, learn from this."

Police had not initially classed the incident as terror related, but Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism policing, announced on Sunday morning that had changed after "investigations through the night".

"Although the motivation for this horrific act is far from certain counter terrorism policing have taken responsibility for leading the investigation," he said.

Mr Basu also insisted that the attack was not linked in any way to a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration which had taken place in the park earlier that day.

He added: "From our enquiries so far, officers have found nothing to suggest that there was anyone else involved in this attack and presently we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident."

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