Terrorist Incident at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

– in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 16th November 2021.

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Photo of Kim Johnson Kim Johnson Labour, Liverpool, Riverside 12:32 pm, 16th November 2021

(Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on Sunday’s incident at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

The explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11 o’clock on Sunday was a shocking incident, and my thoughts are with all those affected and the people of Liverpool, the city of my birth. I would like to thank the emergency services for their typically quick response and professionalism, and the police for their work on the investigation, which continues at pace.

The House will understand that I cannot comment on the details of this case as there is an ongoing live investigation. We are, of course, monitoring it closely. The police have stated that the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood. However, this is a further stark reminder about the threat we all face from terrorism. Our world-class security and intelligence agencies and counter-terror police work night and day to keep us safe.

Yesterday, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre took the decision independently of Ministers to raise the UK national threat level from substantial, meaning an attack is likely, to severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. JTAC, which operates independently of Ministers, considers all relevant intelligence and information to produce an agreed assessment of the threat from terrorism.

The public should remain alert but not alarmed. I know that hon. Members will want to avoid speculation about the case. I would urge the public and the media similarly to avoid speculation at this stage. Public safety is one of our chief priorities. We will continue to work with the police, alongside our world-class intelligence and security agencies, to confront and combat the threat from terrorism.

Photo of Kim Johnson Kim Johnson Labour, Liverpool, Riverside

Mr Speaker, I am grateful to you for granting this urgent question, but I am very surprised that the Secretary of State is not here, given the seriousness of the matter.

I would like to start by taking this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the police, our emergency services and staff at Liverpool City Council for responding in such a quick and professional manner; and to the heroic staff, patients and families at Liverpool Women’s Hospital for remaining calm and continuing to provide vital services. The work and resilience they have all shown at this difficult time showcase the very best of my great city.

The explosion in my constituency on Sunday rocked our great city. Like everyone, I was horrified to learn what had happened and grateful it was not worse, thanks to the actions of taxi driver David Perry. Liverpool has always been a diverse and welcoming city, and we pride ourselves on being a city of sanctuary. Now more than ever, we need to work together to support our communities and show that we remain united against the attempts to divide us.

Incidents such as these, while extremely rare, always provoke a spike in race hate, particularly against the Muslim community. My team have been hearing of incidents where women wearing the hijab are facing abuse. I am aware that funding is available through the places of worship scheme to help to provide security against hate crimes, and that the Government provide Community Security Trust Jewish communities with £14 million of funding every year. I also note that the Muslim Council of Britain has repeatedly raised the funding they receive as not proportionate to the risks they face, especially since the Government’s latest figures show that they are the target of 45% of all religious hate crimes—this is the greatest percentage of any faith group and double that of the second highest group. Will the Minister take the opportunity to review the amount of funding all faith communities receive every year to ensure that adequate and proportional resources are allocated to protect communities, including at times of heightened risk such as these?

We must take this opportunity to learn lessons from this tragic affair and take steps towards a more effective asylum system and immigration system. I hope the Minister will consider that ahead of the upcoming Nationality and Borders Bill and reconsider its inhumane approach.

As we continue to search for the truth behind this appalling incident, we must remain alert but not alarmed. We must stay calm, look after each other, pull together as the great diverse city we are, and not allow anyone to exploit this situation to divide us. At times like these, we must stand in solidarity, renew our resolve and remember we have far more that unites us than divides us.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I applaud the hon. Lady’s final sentiment that we are more united than divided, particularly in the face of terrorism.

The Home Secretary could not be here, but I can reassure the hon. Lady that this has been given the highest importance in the Home Office and that the Home Secretary has been in touch with the investigators, as has the Prime Minister, right since the incident itself. In fact, the reason the Minister for Security and Borders, my right hon. Friend Damian Hinds, is not here to give a statement is that he is arriving in Liverpool as we speak to understand what the frontline responders have done and the stage of the investigation, and to stand with the community, as she says, as they bind themselves together.

This is a part of Liverpool I know extremely well. I was born and brought up there. I walked those streets and played in nearby Sefton Park as a child. As the hon. Lady says, it is a part of the city which is inclusive and welcoming and which I know will stand together to recover from this dreadful event.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

I congratulate Kim Johnson on securing this urgent question, but does my right hon. Friend agree that it should not really have been necessary for her to seek it? Inevitably, there are going to be speculations in the media about an incident as serious as this. No one appreciates the pressures on Home Office Ministers in particular more than the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, but can he please take the message back that, when something like this happens, even if there is not much to be said, it ought to be said to this House in the first instance, at the first available opportunity?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I understand my right hon. Friend’s sentiments. As he will know, particularly with regard to the threat level, a written ministerial statement was issued yesterday. We understand the need to keep the House informed and to provide reassurance, but the issue with statements to the House is that they have to be timed at such a stage where we believe that the balance is right between the information that we can give and the likelihood of further speculation about a case emanating from a statement, and that is sometimes difficult. But I take his point about the implications and will certainly think more carefully about the timing in future.

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, House of Commons Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

Just from my point of view, a written ministerial statement to the House is not good enough. It should be a statement to Members. They expect it, so please let us not hide behind that in terms of what we think is right or wrong. We all know what is right and wrong.

Photo of Conor McGinn Conor McGinn Shadow Minister (Home Office), Deputy national campaign co-ordinator

One always feels a sense of responsibility and sadness on occasions such as this, but I feel it particularly today as a Merseyside MP. I echo what my hon. Friend Kim Johnson said about the emergency services and the victim of the attack, and I thank her for the leadership that she has shown locally over the past number of days.

The criminal investigation of the events in Liverpool is moving quickly. An individual who counter-terrorism police believe is the strong suspect and perpetrator has been named, although many questions remain. It is understandable, after the second incident in a matter of weeks, that the current terror threat level has been raised to severe. As the Minister said, it is critical that people should be not alarmed, but alert. Will he ensure that agencies have the resources to reinforce that message?

There are reports that a home-made explosive device was used in this appalling attack. After the 2017 series of attacks, the Intelligence and Security Committee, which is chaired so well by Dr Lewis, published a report that included recommendations on the use of and construction of such devices—namely, regulation around the ingredients or chemicals used to make them. Why have none of those recommendations been implemented after four years? Will the Minister look at that again?

We need to look at how another perpetrator was radicalised. The Government’s counter-extremism body came forward with several recommendations that, again, have not been implemented. We know that Ministers are taking funding away from key counter-extremism projects. Why is that, and will the Minister look at that again?

We must also look at information sharing between intelligence agencies, our police and public bodies. They need the fullest possible picture of individuals of concern to take the necessary action. Does the Minister agree, and will he look at that again?

We know that the Government have had a report on dealing with self-initiated and self-radicalised so-called “lone actors”. What is happening with that report? What is being done? The Minister will know that the Opposition have called for a judge-led review.

Finally, Liverpool people, in my experience, are resilient, but never, never harsh. Liverpool will continue, I am sure, to be the welcoming and warm place famed the world over for its hospitality.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his questions. As he knows, significant resources are available to our counter-terrorism policing colleagues and there have been significant extra resources over the past couple of years for Merseyside police, which I know and believe they will put into action in this case.

The hon. Gentleman asked a number of questions that invited me to speculate on some of the lessons that we may learn from this incident with regard to, for example, materials or, indeed, the motivation of the alleged attacker. At the moment, the police have said that none of that is yet clear. Once the investigations are complete, and we have the full picture of the individual’s activities online and offline and of his lifestyle and possible associates—we do not know yet—we will be able to learn some of the lessons for the future. And I join the hon. Gentleman in knowing that Liverpool will bind itself together, as the city has done so many times and will again.

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham

What action is the Home Office taking in its area of competence to review all the policies that could have a bearing on this and similar attacks? We would like reassurance that more could be done, as those are unacceptable.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As hon. Members will know, the phenomenon of terrorism in the modern world is fast-moving and dynamic, so we must be, too. I reassure my right hon. Friend and the House that constant attention is paid to our ability to prevent these kinds of attacks, where we possibly can. He will know that, since 2017, counter-terrorism policing in its wider sense has prevented, I think, 31 attacks. We constantly learn lessons from incidents not just here in the UK, but around the world, so that we try to stay one step ahead in our preventive efforts. I can reassure him that constant attention is paid to refining what we do and getting better and better at it.

Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution), Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

The SNP unequivocally condemns this dreadful crime, particularly as it came when the people of this country were preparing to remember those who died to defend our freedoms. We send our thoughts and best wishes to the people of the great city of Liverpool, and our sincere thanks to Dave Perry, whose courage and presence of mind almost certainly prevented a greater loss of life. We wish him a full and speedy recovery. We echo the calls for people with any information whatever about the attack to come forward, to ensure that everyone involved is caught and held to account for their actions.

I understand that the suspect was not known either to the security services or to the police. Could the Minister say something about what is being done to address the radicalisation of such lone attackers? What strategy is being pursued to reduce the risk of such attacks in the future?

Finally, I share the concern of Conor McGinn that there is a belief that the device used was similar to that used in Manchester four years ago. Whether or not that proves to be the case, how confident is the Minister that the current controls on access to such chemicals are robust and strong enough to prevent something like this from happening in future?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

While I understand the hon. Gentleman’s sentiments—I, too, offer my good wishes to the driver of the car for a full recovery—he is inviting me to speculate on the possible motivation of the individual by indicating that there may have been some radicalism. As I said earlier, we are not yet clear about the motivation of that individual.

Obviously the hon. Gentleman will understand that investigations, not least digital forensic investigations, are under way. As for the materials used in the incident, there is ongoing, extensive forensic examination of premises that have been occupied and of the vehicle on site. Until we know exactly what the circumstances are, it is hard to draw any conclusions, as the hon. Gentleman asks me to, but when we do, I am sure that we will be able to find a way to let the House know.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick Conservative, Newark

I extend my thanks to the emergency services in Liverpool and Merseyside and the security services for the incredible work that they do, and to Mr Perry for what appears to be considerable bravery on his part.

As my right hon. Friend says, it would not be right to speculate on the motivations of the individual involved, but it is true that we have a significant problem in this country with extremism and extremist ideologies—a problem that we need to confront with renewed seriousness. He and the Home Secretary are equipped with a number of major reports, including Baroness Casey’s on integration and Sara Khan’s on potential changes to the law, and they either already have or will shortly have William Shawcross’s report on the effectiveness and potential reform of the Prevent programme. When will my right hon. Friend respond to those reports and set out the Government’s strategy?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I understand that my right hon. Friend is not necessarily associating this particular case with the strand of work that he is looking at, but he is quite right that there have been a number of reports over the past few years that have looked into the very difficult job of combating radicalism, not least in an internet age. I know that he is impatient for change. My right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Minister for Security and Borders are applying themselves with some enthusiasm to that area of business, because although we can do a lot on prevention from an organisational and a policing point of view, in the end it is critical that we get to the root cause: the radicalisation, often self-radicalisation, of individuals, which often happens online.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

This was a truly awful attack, which it appears could have been much worse. I join other hon. Members in thanking the emergency services and in sending our support to David Perry and his family and to the staff and patients at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, who will have faced such great shock as a result of this awful incident.

There has also been an increase in the terror threat level. Previously, when the terror threat level has been increased, Ministers have come to this House to make a statement; rightly, there were also statements after Streatham, Reading and other terror attacks, and of course after the awful murder of our colleague. I urge the Minister to take that point back, because I think this was a bad misjudgment.

How far does raising the terror threat reflect concerns among security services about the increase in online radicalisation during the pandemic?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am sure that the House will have heard loud and clear both your implication, Mr Speaker, and that of the Chair of the Committee about our coming to the House in a timely fashion. I understand that, notwithstanding yesterday’s written statement, an oral statement was preferable in your view.

As for the raising of the threat level, the right hon. Lady will know that a number of data points are pulled in for that independent assessment, but this decision was made in the light of the two recent incidents—the death, sadly, the awful killing, of Sir David Amess, and this incident—combined in the round with other information gathered by JTAC. The online world of radicalisation is of course one of the areas that JTAC examines, but I think that it takes into account a more rounded picture of the overall threat.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne Conservative, New Forest West

Notwithstanding the reason that the Minister has just given for the raising of the threat level, both the incidents to which he has referred involved, effectively, lone wolves. Is he in a position to share with us some of the rationale for raising the threat level nationally?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I understand my right hon. Friend’s desire for more information, but he will know that we do not, as a rule, discuss the reasoning behind our security levels, just as we do not discuss specific security arrangements or, indeed, specific security tactics or capabilities. While there are mechanisms in the House to oversee what we do, not least the Intelligence and Security Committee, I hope my right hon. Friend understands that it might not be helpful to our general security for me to discuss these matters in public.

Photo of Paula Barker Paula Barker Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

Let me first pay tribute to Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, her officers at Merseyside Police, Counter Terrorism Policing North West, Phil Garrigan, the chief fire officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, and all the other emergency responders for their rapid response in reassuring our people and communities including those in Kensington, in my constituency, which still has a heavy police presence. My thanks also go to the incredible staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and I wish David Perry a very speedy recovery.

Given that the picture is still unclear in respect of the wider investigation, may I ask what additional resources will be allocated to Liverpool via Merseyside Police and Counter Terrorism Policing North West, to help them to conclude their investigation at the earliest opportunity?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As I said earlier, we believe that Merseyside Police and the regional counter-terrorism police have adequate resources. Obviously, national resources have also been devoted to this investigation. At present I am not aware that we have received any request for further assistance, but I am sure that if there is such a request, we will be able to look at it.

Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

While I appreciate that this is a live investigation and we clearly cannot speculate on all the details, reports in the media that the suspect was an asylum seeker have understandably raised considerable concern among my constituents. Does my right hon. Friend agree that effective border controls are vital to maintaining public confidence in public security?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As my hon. Friend says, there has been a great deal of speculation in the media and elsewhere, and he will forgive me if I refrain from speculating on the background and therefore the possible motivations of the individual concerned. However, on a separate issue, he is right to suggest that all nations need compassionate, fair and swift border controls that deliver on their duty to those fleeing persecution around the world, while at the same time ensuring that there is an orderly way in which to enter the country.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

I want to express, across the River Mersey, the solidarity of the people of the Wirral with the communities in Liverpool who have had to deal with this issue. Will the Minister tell us a bit more about his views on how we can counter self-radicalisation and on the fact that the security services are particularly worried that it may have been turbocharged during lockdowns, and his views on how a strategy to counter that might be being developed?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

Given that, in strict terms, this is obviously not my portfolio—I am here today because the Security Minister is in Liverpool himself—I am not sure that my views would necessarily be the most helpful thing to give today. It is the case, however, that in respect of both crime generally and possible radicalisation online, we are working through the implications of the lockdowns and the impact of covid on particular individuals who may be susceptible as a result of having spent time in confinement and been exposed to material to which they would not otherwise have been exposed. Those lessons are being learnt as we speak, and I am sure that in time my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Minister for Security and Borders will come forward with their proposals.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

I have been contacted by many constituents wanting to stand in solidarity with Liverpool and pay tribute to the emergency services. I do not wish to speculate on the motivations of this lone actor, but I wonder whether the Minister has had time to read a report on the “tipping point” into extremism that I produced with the Home Affairs Committee. It contains a large number of recommendations on working with social media platforms to ensure that they do not promote, or engage young minds in, delivering lone acts of violence such as this may have been. Will the Minister update us on what we are doing about social media companies that do not remove those platforms?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I know that the hon. Lady has done a vast amount of work in this area, and we congratulate her and thank her for it. She is right: while we entrust a huge amount of our safety to our police forces—and, in particular, to our counter-terrorism police and those who promote the Prevent programme and other radicalisation prevention strategies—we all have a role to play in our collective safety, including the executives and others of social media companies, who need to think about the role that they play in shaping young minds for the future. That is not, as I have said, to speculate on the motivation in this case. I speak in general terms, as a father with children, and I know that there are young minds out there to be shaped. Those companies are part of the shaping, and they need to step up to that responsibility.

Photo of Khalid Mahmood Khalid Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Perry Barr

I commend Mr Perry for his bravery, and I commend all the emergency services that came to the rescue. I wholly and unreservedly condemn the terrorist act that took place. It was a premature act in that the fuse probably went off earlier than it was intended to, and it could have been far more devastating to the city of Liverpool and indeed to all of us.

For too long—for the last 20 years—we have spoken of addressing radicalisation and extremism. We do not appear to be making headway. I agree with what was said earlier by my hon. Friend Conor McGinn, the shadow security Minister: we should be looking far more closely at this issue, and providing support and resources not only for the security services but for the local police to enable them to be more active.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s frustration, and I apologise to the House for not being able to say more about this case at the moment, but I must reiterate that we are not yet clear—and the police have stated in terms that they are not yet clear—about the motivation for the attack. The time will come for us to draw lessons from it, and indeed from other attacks, and apply them to the further work we can do to protect ourselves, both in dealing with those who may be radicalised and, more practically, in dealing with the groups who may be organising the attacks. However, this is a difficult and complex area of work. I hope the House will give the police the space that they need to complete the investigation and learn those lessons, from this incident and, as I have said, from the previous incident.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

We are fortunate in this country to have superb counter-terrorism forces. They face myriad different threats, but in the light of recent attacks, will there be a pivot among the security services and the police towards concentrating on lone actors, who are in many ways the most difficult to identify and prevent?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As my hon. Friend rightly points out, this is one of the most difficult areas of investigation. While I cannot speculate on whether or not there will be such a pivot, I hope my hon. Friend knows that—as I said earlier—we are constantly paying attention to where we believe the threat is coming from, and refining our ability both to identify it and to prevent it from emerging in the first place.There have been a number of different styles and natures of attack over the years. For example, he will remember what became known as the “Mumbai-style” attack, which took place some time ago and had implications for our resilience. We did extensive work to protect ourselves from that style of attack. Similarly, work will be ongoing as we see this phenomenon increase, and I can reassure him that significant attention and resources will be being paid to it.

Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Labour, Liverpool, Walton

May I put on record my thanks to everyone at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and everyone involved in the emergency service response? Liverpool is a welcoming city and a city of sanctuary, and the Minister grew up there. However, we are not immune from minority communities feeling vulnerable at times like this, so I invite him to reassure those communities that the Government are working with local leaders to ensure their security and safety in the weeks and months ahead.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I agree with the hon. Gentleman; I know the city well and it has always been welcoming, certainly in the latter decades, when community harmony has been very good and high. I hope that this will not have an impact on that. The Security Minister is there today to talk to the authorities and the police about what more we can do to help and to understand more about the circumstances, but I know that the two mayors, the police and crime commissioner and all those engaged in the welfare of Liverpool will be doing their best to reassure the community and bind it together after such a devastating event.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

I congratulate my hon. Friend Kim Johnson on securing this urgent question and join her in thanking the security services and the members of the emergency services who were involved. It has been widely reported that TATP was used in this attack. As my hon. Friend Conor McGinn said from the Front Bench, in 2018 the Intelligence and Security Committee, on which I serve, produced a report on the 2017 terrorist attacks. It made four recommendations on this, with recommendation N calling for the outdated system of regulation of these chemicals to be updated. In response to the Committee’s report, the Government simply noted the conclusion and said that they were committed to developing a system of regulation. The Minister says that things are unclear and he cannot comment on them, but what is clear is the fact that none of those recommendations have been taken on board since 2018. Why?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As the right hon. Gentleman points out, I cannot comment on this. I know that there has been a lot of speculation about the nature of the explosion, but, as I understand it from a briefing just this morning, the forensic examination is yet to be completed. Once it is, we will be able to draw some lessons about the particular combustion and the explosive chemicals that may or may not have been used, and then we can take action accordingly.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Labour, Garston and Halewood

As somebody who was nearby, at Liverpool’s Remembrance Day service at the Anglican cathedral, at the time of the explosion, along with 2,000 to 3,000 other people, I want to join in commending Merseyside police and the fire and rescue services in particular for their swift and effective action to keep the city and its citizens safe.

Liverpool is a city that believes in solidarity and helping others, as we have seen in my constituency, where hundreds of recently arrived Afghan people, themselves fleeing terror, are staying as they adjust to new lives in the UK. What more will the Government do to ensure that any threats to community cohesion and safety that arise out of these circumstances—there are people out there, not necessarily from the city, who want to cause trouble—are minimised and that no one is allowed to use the events to stoke community tensions?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I join the hon. Lady in congratulating Merseyside police, which is one of our highest-performing police forces across the country, having had a series of great leaders as chief constables, not least the current one. Andy Cooke, who led it before, was also an outstanding leader of that force, which has achieved amazing results. The fact it was able to deal with this incident so swiftly, at the same time as dealing with a major public event not very far away, is a great testament to its skill.

On the community work, the hon. Lady will be reassured to know that colleagues in the community arm of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are engaging with the local authorities in Liverpool to make sure that we do what we can to reassure the local community and keep it as united as it has hitherto been.

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Labour, Bootle

Mr Speaker, I echo your concerns and those of my hon. Friend Kim Johnson that an urgent question should not have been necessary. I also want to echo the tributes to the emergency services’ response. As a former chair of Merseyside fire and rescue service, I particularly wish to focus on its response and on the measured response from the people of Liverpool and Merseyside more broadly. It is chilling to think that this incident occurred as we stood in silence to remember the fallen—how ironic. I send my thanks and best wishes to David Perry, the driver of the taxi involved in the explosion, for his bravery.

Understandably, this dreadful incident will have unsettled staff in local hospitals, particularly in the Women’s Hospital, where my two granddaughters were born. So will the Minister speak to the Health Secretary to initiate a full review of security at hospitals in the light of this incident, to reassure patients, staff and visitors?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

As I say, Mr Speaker, the lack of a statement came from a desire to come to the House at the moment when we could give the maximum information and reassurance, but we hear the message loud and clear. Obviously, following this incident there will be review of security arrangements at a variety of premises. The hon. Gentleman will understand that I do not want to discuss exactly what those may be, but the raising of the threat level brings with it an implication and an obligation on a number of organisations to review their security arrangements. The British public will see a greater police presence, particularly in areas of public use, to make sure that there is both reassurance and prevention in place.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

I serve on the ISC, and I have incredibly impressed by the thoroughness of the information that the Committee has available to it, the reports that are produced and the recommendations that are made. What has concerned me today has been listening to both our Front Bencher and my right hon. Friend Mr Jones explain that recommendations that have been public for quite a while have not been responded to by the Government. Might the Minister be willing to undertake a review of all the recent recommendations that the Committee has put forward, to see what more can be done to make sure that we keep ourselves as safe as possible?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for that and I thank her for her work on that important Committee. I understand the House’s frustration that the discussion of specific security arrangements on the Floor of the House is not necessarily helpful to our overall security. We do have a tried and tested route to look at these things, through the Committee of which she is a member. I am more than happy to go away and discuss with my colleagues what the status is of the various recommendations coming out of that Committee, and, if required, we can put some boosters on to implementing them.

Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

I thank my hon. Friend Kim Johnson and you, Mr Speaker, for this urgent question, which is very important to the people of Merseyside. I associate myself with all the remarks, including those of the Minister, the shadow Minister and others, about those who served the people of Merseyside on Sunday to make them safe.

The Women’s is a fantastic hospital. Although we have no idea whether the location had anything to do with the incident, I am prompted to ask the Minister about the toxic ideology of misogyny and global evidence that it seems to be behind more and more devastating incidents around the world. May I ask the Minister to say, on behalf of the Home Office, what research it has commissioned on misogyny and how we can make sure we undermine this ideology at source, to keep people safe?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I join the hon. Lady in celebrating the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool, which has been used by members of my family on a number of occasions. I was born at Broadgreen, not at the Women’s Hospital, but there are some fantastic facilities in that city.

Obviously, I understand that the hon. Lady is not intending to speculate on the motivation of the individuals, but she is right to say that there have been a number of incidents internationally and closer to home where ideologies such as incel or people driven by misogyny and therefore targeting women have been a cause of concern, both publicly and privately. I know that there is an examination of this phenomenon ongoing within the Home Office.

Photo of Mick Whitley Mick Whitley Labour, Birkenhead

May I pay tribute to the extraordinary resilience and determination of the staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, who provide such exceptional support to women and newborns from across Merseyside? I also commend Mr Perry for his bravery.

Sunday’s appalling attack has caused understandable concerns about the health service. Last night, health service trusts in England were urged to review their security measures. Will the Minister assure the House that trusts will not be expected to pay for any security upgrades from their already overstretched budgets and that such costs will be met with additional funding from central Government?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s sentiments. It is obviously not for me to discuss what the security arrangements should or should not be—as I have said before, it is not helpful to speculate—but I am sure that whatever resource will help those organisations to become safe will be available either from within their own budgets or from elsewhere.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

I want to express my solidarity with the people of Liverpool, where I studied and worked for many years. I fear that my hon. Friend Kim Johnson is right that some will use the event to peddle their message of hate and division. Without prejudicing this case, how many asylum seekers will be waiting for more than two years for a decision on their applications? Of those, how many will receive mental health support?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am afraid that the hon. Lady is once again inviting me to speculate on the background, nature and motivation of the individual. I hope she will forgive me if I refrain from doing so. I am happy to take that question in other circumstances and, if she wants to table it as a written question, I will make sure that there is a swift reply on the numbers.

On the hon. Lady’s sentiment, I am reassured about the possible community implications because I know that Liverpool is not a city filled with hate. It is a city where people put their arms around each other and stand together in adversity, as sadly they have had to do too often. I know that they will this time, too.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

Will the Minister outline what can be done to ensure that the taxi driver, David Perry, who looked into the face of evil and acted courageously—eerily reminiscent of those heroes who gave their lives and were honoured on the day when this terrorist sought to murder, take life and disrespect our great nation and democracy—will be able to put food on the table, return to work after his recovery and have a vehicle to earn his living?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

It is typical of the hon. Gentleman that he would focus on the welfare of that individual. I will personally ensure that he is getting all the support that he needs to recover properly.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Independent, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

I thank the emergency services on the scene on Sunday for their extraordinary response to a terrifying situation and send solidarity to Kim Johnson and the people of Liverpool.

Remembrance Sunday is a time to commemorate the lives lost in two world wars and subsequent conflicts. It is an emotional time for many, not least veterans in our armed forces. What support are the Government offering to veterans who may have had post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health conditions triggered by Sunday’s news?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

We will have to examine the wider community impacts of the incident once the lessons are learned. As the hon. Lady knows, significant work is being done through our work on the military covenant around welfare and wellbeing for veterans. I hope and believe that the resources available as part of that may be employed in this effort.