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OPINION: City & East AM Unmesh Desai says lessons must be learned following recent tragic events

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 June 2017

Archant

Manchester, London Bridge, Grenfell Tower and now Finsbury Park.

It is hard to comprehend this level of tragedy and my thoughts are fully with those affected by these horrific events.

Our resilience and community cohesion have been tested before and once again London and Londoners have responded with untold heroism and humility.

The accounts of personal bravery and kindness by ordinary people are deeply moving. A friend who was in Borough Market during the terrorist attack told how restaurant staff barricaded the doors to protect customers. Our emergency services – police, ambulance and fire – have gone above and beyond to protect us and to rescue us in recent weeks and deserve all of our gratitude.

We have seen people from all backgrounds coming together to help victims and survivors, and their friends and families. This is the real face of London. I attended a vigil at City Hall following the London Bridge attack and we have seen multi-faith vigils across London including outside Newham Town Hall. These events have brought our many diverse communities together in a powerful show of solidarity and unity. This is London at its best.

We remain heartbroken and unsettled by these attacks on our society, and devastated by the rising number of deaths at Grenfell Tower. We must learn from these events. It would be unwise to speculate about the fire and the public inquiry will tell us much more, but I welcome Newham Council’s precautionary review of its housing stock.

Cuts to vital public services must be re-thought. The Met faces cuts of £400 million over the next four years. We owe it to those who have been affected to conduct a broad and mature debate on how we move forward together.


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