Terror attack survivors urge politicians to make clear pledges for victims

Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, is among those who have signed the open letter to party leaders (Getty)
Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, is among those who have signed the open letter to party leaders (Getty)

Terror attack survivors who have accused politicians of missing opportunities to act on the threat of terrorism are calling for commitments from all parties ahead of the election.

More than one hundred and twenty survivors wrote an open letter to all party leaders on Thursday, urging them to make clear pledges to terror victims, their families and the wider public before the upcoming general election.

The survivors, who are part of the charity Survivors Against Terror, said they “lament the missed opportunities to act” and politicians’ broken promises, which has led them to feel no safer or better supported than they were at the last general election nearly five years ago.

The group’s letter reads: “Days ahead of the last election, a terror attack struck at Fishmongers Hall. In the aftermath, we were promised that Martyn’s Law (a law focused on improving security at public venues) would be enacted and a Survivor’s Charter (guaranteeing the rights of survivors of terror attacks) would be brought forward.

Tributes to the two victims of the terror attack that struck at Fishmongers Hall in 2019 (Getty)
Tributes to the two victims of the terror attack that struck at Fishmongers Hall in 2019 (Getty)

“In the almost five years since, neither of those promises have been kept – we are no safer and no better supported than we were five years ago.”

Survivors of 22 different terror attacks are represented in the letter including Manchester Arena, Tunisia, Brussels Metro, London Bridge, Fishmongers Hall, 7/7, Brighton, ISIS, Westgate Mall (Nairobi), Westminster Bridge, Bataclan, Jo Cox MP, Mumbai and Reading.

They urge politicians to recommit to Martyn’s Law and the Survivor’s Charter.

The letter comes on the anniversary of the Reading Forbury Gardens attack. Gary Furlong, the father of James Furlong who was killed four years ago, said: “When terror attacks happen, politicians promise the world ... Before this happened to my family I thought that was true – but I now know it’s not. And that’s simply not good enough.”

Gary Furlong, the father of James Furlong who was killed four years ago in the Reading Forbury Gardens attack, has also signed the letter calling for commitments from all party leaders (Lucy North/PA Wire)
Gary Furlong, the father of James Furlong who was killed four years ago in the Reading Forbury Gardens attack, has also signed the letter calling for commitments from all party leaders (Lucy North/PA Wire)

Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox and co-founder of Survivors Against Terror, said: “Too many survivors are left languishing without basic mental health support, compensation or even recognition of their pain. It should shame us all.”

The letter in full:

Dear Party Leader,

We write to you as survivors of terror attacks. Many of us have been bereaved, others have been physically or psychologically injured by the attacks. What unites all of us is not only our experience, but our desire to make sure that no one else goes through something as awful as this in the future.

That's why as survivors we have long campaigned for policies that make future terror attacks less likely and that reduce the impact of attacks if and when they do happen.

The letter has been sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as well as all the other party leaders (PA Media)
The letter has been sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as well as all the other party leaders (PA Media)

Days ahead of the last election a terror attack struck at Fishmongers Hall. In the aftermath, we were promised that Martyn’s Law (a law focused on improving security at public venues) would be enacted and a Survivor’s Charter (guaranteeing the rights of survivors of terror attacks) would be brought forward.

In the almost five years since, neither of those promises have been kept – we are no safer and no better supported than we were five years ago. Public venues remain at heightened risk of attack, survivors languish on waiting lists for mental health support and seriously injured people are still waiting for compensation many years after life-changing attacks made it impossible for them to work.

That has to change this time. We urge all parties not only to recommit to Martyn’s Law and the Survivor’s Charter, but to be clear about the timelines for their implementation because draft legislation doesn’t save lives and consultations don’t change living conditions.

It’s time to deliver.