UK

Andrew Neil Praised For Message To Politicians Following Manchester Bombing

'The best statement I've seen so far on where this debate has to go.'

26/05/2017 11:16 BST | Updated 26/05/2017 11:22 BST

Andrew Neil has been praised for his “absolutely spot on” response after calling on politicians to be “mature” as they return to campaigning following the Manchester bombing.

The BBC This Week presenter garnered much praise for his blistering monologue following the Westminster attack earlier this year, as well as his attack on the Paris terrorists in 2015.

But he said on Thursday night that he would not be repeating those comments, though “they apply with equal force to what happened on Monday night, even more so since it involved the deliberate slaughter of the young”

He continued: “But perhaps the time for rhetoric is over and we need to concentrate more on what we’re going to do about it?

“As atrocity follows atrocity, we’ve fallen into a choreographed response.

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Andrew Neil called on politicians to have a 'mature debate' on the response to terror

”We condemn the barbarity, naturally. Our hearts go out to those killed and maimed, the pointless, dreadful loss of life - of course. We admire the stoicism and resolve of those towns and cities who’ve endured the full force of evil. We’re rightly proud of our brave and professional emergency services.

“We aver the terrorists will not divide us. And they won’t. Because that’s what they want and they will not have it.

“We know Muslims are not our enemy and that they have as much to fear from the Islamists within our midst as the rest of us.”

However, Neil said that “despite horror upon horror, we’ve yet to have a proper national conversation on what the right long-term response should be to root out this tiny but deadly cancer that afflicts us”.

“Not just the security or military responses, important as they are, but the grassroots, community, local responses that would stop this evil from flourishing in the first place - or at least nip it in the bud.”

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Hundreds of floral tributes in St Ann's Square, Manchester

He went on to call on politicians to have a “mature” debate over the issue, saying: “The election campaign begins again tomorrow. Is it too much to ask that, in the two weeks until polling day, those who would govern us do not return to the banalities that have characterised some of the election so far and begin instead a mature debate on what is literally a matter of life and death?”

Many commended Neil on the monologue...

As election campaigning resumed on Friday, Jeremy Corbyn was set to draw a direct link between British foreign policy and terror attacks like the one which took place in Manchester.

In a speech in central London on Friday morning, the Labour leader was expected to say his government would tackle “the causes of terrorism” as well as reverse police cuts.

Britain “must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is not working” and find “a smarter way” to tackle the threat, he was set to say.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joins in the minute's silence on Thursday

Downing Street announced the Government’s emergency Cobra committee will meet in Whitehall on Friday morning to discuss the latest developments, chaired by the Home Secretary.

Twenty-three people remain in critical care across eight hospitals following the bombing. They include five children at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Eight men remain in custody.