May I take a moment, Mr Speaker, because it has been a very difficult few days? I wish to thank the Home Secretary for meeting me today. I very much thought that the tone of our discussion was helpful and positive. I look forward to working with her and I appreciate her offer of support for Reading.
Like many other people, I was shocked and deeply upset by the dreadful attack in Forbury Gardens. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the three people who died—my thoughts are with them. It is impossible to imagine what they are going through at this time, and I am sure all our hearts go out to them. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] I am also thinking about the injured and their loved ones, and all those who have been affected by this dreadful attack, which, I should emphasise to people, took place in a park when people were trying to enjoy a peaceful weekend. Most of all, I would like to thank the emergency services and the police for their swift and immediate response, and indeed for the incredible bravery shown by the officers who, as was said earlier, rugby-tackled an armed offender and took that person to the ground.
Reading is a friendly and peaceful town with a diverse and tolerant community. This kind of incident is completely unknown to us. It is something that has never occurred before in our community and as such is deeply upsetting. That community solidarity was demonstrated again today, when a wide range of different faith and community groups came together to lay flowers at the scene of the dreadful incident. Local people also observed a minute’s silence. I am very proud of the way in which our community is pulling together at this difficult time and the way in which local people have been supporting one another. We can and we will come through this difficult time.