Statement: 22 May Arena Inquest report

Statement on the publication of Volume 2 of the 22 May 2017 attack inquiry report into the response of the emergency services.

22 May 2017 was a dark and harrowing day for our city and will never be forgotten by anyone in Manchester.

Today is another difficult day for families of those lost, for survivors, and for so many other people affected. They remain in our thoughts.

Although today’s report is not about the council, I’m here to make a short statement on behalf of the city as we reflect again on that terrible day and its aftermath.

Earlier this year we marked the fifth anniversary of the attack as we opened the Glade of Light – a permanent memorial honoring the 22 people whose lives were so cruelly cut short.

We also remember all those who were injured, many of whom are still living with the physical and mental impacts of what happened.

Sir John Saunders rightly reflected today on the many examples of individual acts of bravery, especially from the public, on that night.

It is right that they are remembered.

But we know that for those most closely affected by the events of that day, especially those who lost loved ones, the pain is still very raw.

The findings of the public inquiry about how people were let down by emergency services in the immediate aftermath make for deeply distressing reading.

It is essential for those most closely involved, for the city and indeed for the country that we go through this process - however painful - to understand how events unfolded on that night.

It will take some time to digest the inquiry report in full, but it is clear to me that the response of emergency services on the night was simply not good enough and while it is only right that they have apologised, it

is vital that they now set out the actions they have taken and will now take – both individually and jointly.

The report sets out a range of actions for emergency services at a Greater Manchester, regional and national level and the government.

One such legislative change is the Duty to Protect or Martyn’s Law. In Manchester we have already embedded the principles of this in our licensing process and staff at hundreds of premises have had counter-terrorism training. This urgently needs to be embedded in law.

Sir John and the inquiry will monitor progress on report’s actions - and on behalf of the city I will seek assurances that these recommendations are being acted upon.

Today’s report is harrowing. It is upsetting. It is uncomfortable.

But it is absolutely necessary, as it is imperative that actions are taken to address failings, not just in honour of those who lost their lives on 22 May 2017, or whose lives were changed forever, but so no one has to go through similar grief and trauma in the future.

Manchester continues to support the important work of the public inquiry as it enters its final phase.

Once again I would like to convey my thanks to the inquiry team, but especially pay a heartfelt tribute to the incredible families who lost loved ones and the survivors, who have painfully relived their darkest hours to ensure a true account was heard and to inform improvements for the future. A future response that must be better.

Above all our thoughts remain with those who were killed, left bereaved or otherwise badly affected on one of the absolute worst days in this city’s long history.

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