Reading attack: Ex-Home Secretary Lord Howard warns against knee-jerk reaction

22 June 2020, 08:00

Lord Howard warned that the government should avoid knee-jerk reactions following the terror attack in Reading which killed three people.

Police arrested one man after the terror attack in Forbury Gardens in the centre of Reading on Saturday evening.

Boris Johnson promised that "lessons will be learned" in the aftermath, but ex-Home Secretary Lord Michael Howard insisted he shouldn't rush to make judgements.

Lord Howard said: "It's important that we learn lessons, but that is something that has to be done in a measured way, not as a kneejerk reaction to an incident of this kind, terrible though it is.

"I'm sure that people will sit down and look very carefully at what happened and see whether there are lessons to be learned.

"You have to accept I'm afraid that in our society, it is impossible for a total guarantee to be given that these events will never happen.

"The security service and the police do a tremendous job and undoubtedly stop many events of this kind from happening - we don't even hear about them - but it's simply not possible to provide a blanket guarantee that events of this kind will never happen."

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Lord Howard warned against knee-jerk reactions following the Reading terror attack
Lord Howard warned against knee-jerk reactions following the Reading terror attack. Picture: LBC / PA

Lord Howard explained the two things that need to happen now in the aftermath of the attack.

He said: "When something terrible like this happens, there are two immediate priorities. The first is to apprehend the perpetrator and that seems to have been done in this case.

"The second is to establish if there is any imminent danger of any further attacks of this kind, particularly whether the perpetrator was part of any wider conspiracy. We've been told that the police don't think that is the case here."

Hear his full interview at the top of the page.