The terrorist attacks in Paris which killed 129 people and injured many more were shocking for their brutality and their scale. Families enjoying themselves were targeted as the evil acts of ISIL hit our French neighbours. Many of my constituents will be familiar with the places that were affected as they have travelled to Paris on holidays and visited them. At this time our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of those affected.
This is not the first time that Islamist terrorists have struck in Europe. Ten years ago in London four suicide bombers murdered 52 people. In 2004 the Madrid train bombings killed 191. In January this year journalists at Charlie Hebdo were murdered and gunmen targeted a Jewish supermarket in Paris too. Outside of Europe, terrorists brutally target the innocent and only last month a plane was bombed out of the sky in Egypt. British citizens were targeted in terrorist attacks in Bali and Tunisia, there have been attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and we all recall the horrific images of the Twin Towers being hit by aeroplanes in 2001 and the deadly aftermath of that attack.
The groups responsible are linked by their perverted, extremist and fanatical ideologies. We also see this manifested in ISIL and their sickening brutality in Syria and Iraq where they commit barbaric acts against those who hold different faiths and beliefs.
When these shocking and heinous crimes happen, we all rightly rally round and political, community and religious leaders condemn these barbaric acts. Condemnation of those who seek to butcher and murder and preach hatred must continue as there are no justifications and no excuses for these crimes.
Our security and intelligence services are working round the clock to protect us from these acts and in recent months their intervention has foiled seven terrorist plots. I pay tribute to the important and essential work they do. The Prime Minister has set out our response to the Paris attacks and our ongoing work to invest in our national security, prevent terrorism, and work with our international partners to defend our country and our citizens. This includes our commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence and our Armed Forces, more resources for counter-terrorism measures and our special forces, and funding to tackle cyber-crime.
In Britain, we have clamped down on those who preach extremist views and are taking action to deport those foreign nationals who pose a risk and threat to our country. Our tougher controls on immigration and the sensible approach we have taken to the current refugee crisis is playing its part in protecting our country. New measures proposed in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill currently being consulted upon will also give our security services the tools to investigate and intervene to keep us safe.
As the investigations into what happened in Paris continue, we must take all action necessary to keep this country safe and defeat those whose twisted and perverted beliefs put us at risk.
On Friday 27 November 2015, I will be hosting an Apprenticeship Fair at New Rickstones Academy in Witham between 10.30am and 3pm. Over 30 organisations and businesses will be their promoting apprenticeship, training and employment opportunities to those looking for work or a change in career. Among those present will be the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Careers Office, Tiptree Patisserie, Stansted Airport, the Claridon Group and Simarco. More information can be found online at the weblink below:
To register to attend the Fair or to raise any other matter with me, please get in touch with me by email to: WithamMP@parliament.uk by post to: The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.