Theresa May: Britain will not be broken by 'sickening' terror attack

Posted On: 
23rd May 2017

A defiant Theresa May has insisted Britain's spirit “will never be broken” by terrorism, after the suicide bombing in Manchester. 

Theresa May speaks outside No 10 after the suicide bombing in Manchester
Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

The Prime Minister said an act of “appalling, sickening cowardice” had killed 22 people – “many” of them children or young people – at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert.

“The terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail,” she said.

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Another 59 people were injured in the explosion, which Mrs May described as “one of the worst acts of terrorism” seen in the UK.

She was speaking on Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee to discuss the Government’s response.

The Prime Minister urged people to remember not the pictures of “senseless slaughter”, but rather the actions of the emergency services and members of the public who “put concerns about their own safety aside and rushed to help”.

“They are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain – a spirit that, through years of conflict and terrorism, has never been broken and will never be broken,” she said.

“It is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before and the fact that we need to say this again does not make it any less true.”

Mrs May will travel up to Manchester later today where she will meet the mayor, police chief, and members of the emergency services.  

The threat assessment remains at severe, its second highest level, but that is being kept under review by the Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre.

Mrs May said the police believe they know the identity of the suicide bomber.

The Prime Minister spoke to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the early hours of this morning, when they decided to suspend campaigning for the general election. 

Mr Corbyn said: "We do not allow our communities to be divided by this kind of appalling, atrocious act of violence."


Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling were also in Downing Street for this morning’s meeting.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Security Minister Ben Wallace were connected from Manchester via video link.

Mrs May will chair another Cobra meeting this afternoon.

Mr Burnham has also announced there will be a vigil for the victims at 6pm in Albert Square.


Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron are among the world leaders to have condemned the attack.

Mr Trump, who branded those responsible for the atrocity “evil losers”, has spoken to Mrs May.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has also written to the Prime Minister to express condolences for the “brutal attack”.

“These cowardly attacks only strengthen our commitment to work together to defeat the perpetrators of such vile acts,” he said.