Andy Burnham has condemned the suicide bombing in Manchester as an “evil act”.
The city’s mayor praised the emergency services and said the “spirit of Manchester that will prevail”.
At least 22 people have been killed and a further 59 injured after an attacker struck an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.
Police have confirmed a number of children are amongst the dead.
A lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated in the foyer area of the Arena at around 10:30pm.
Speaking this morning, Burnham, who was elected as mayor of Manchester on May 4, said “after our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns.
“It is hard to believe what has happened here int he last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt we feel today. These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill. This was an evil act.
“We are grieving today but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city. I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked through the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
“We have had messages of support from cities across the country and around the world and we thank them.
“But lastly I want to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minutes after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.
“They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us. And it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”
Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders have suspended campaigning in the general election.