Manchester Arena victim’s mother to walk to Downing Street to demand new law

The mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett will walk from the venue to Downing Street next month to demand the introduction of stronger protections against terrorism in public places.

Martyn’s Law, named in tribute to the 29-year-old who was one of 22 people killed at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017, would require venues and local authorities in the UK to have preventative plans against terror attacks.

Mr Hett’s mother Figen Murray has long campaigned for the introduction of the law, which has yet to get beyond draft stage.

Martyn Hett
Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017 (Family Handout/PA)

On May 7, she will walk from the spot where her son was killed to Downing Street, arriving on May 22 – the seventh anniversary of his death.

She will be joined on the walk by her husband and other family members, as well as survivors of terror attacks, as she pays her respects at other sites of terror attacks along the way.

Ms Murray said her world “completely changed” when her son was killed in the attack.

“No parent should have to experience the pain and loss I’ve felt and I truly believe we have an opportunity to make public spaces safer and more secure by introducing Martyn’s Law,” she said.

“The Prime Minister and senior government ministers have reassured me that they are committed to introducing this game-changing legislation, but almost five years on from their first commitment, the draft legislation still hasn’t been tabled. This is putting our country at risk.

“This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack and rather than spending time at home with my family celebrating Martyn’s life, I’ll be walking from the Manchester Arena to 10 Downing Street to hand-deliver a letter to the Prime Minister.”

Last year, a draft of the new law was criticised by the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Figen Murray said her world ‘completely changed’ when her son was killed in the attack (Victoria Jones/PA)

The committee warned that the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill would put small businesses and organisations at risk of closure and fail to “make a significant impact” on preventing attacks.

MPs found the draft Bill, which has different standards based on venue capacity, would require a local village hall to have certain safety precautions, while an outdoor market in a city centre would not.

They said it was a “concern” that attacks which had occurred in some parts of the UK, such as in Scotland, would not fall into the draft Bill’s scope.

Since her son’s death, Ms Murray has obtained a masters degree in counterterrorism and received an OBE.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are grateful to Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law campaign for their tireless support in the development of this vital reform. The Government remains committed to taking action to improve the security of our public venues by introducing Martyn’s Law, as was reaffirmed in the King’s Speech.

“To ensure that we strike the right balance between public protection and avoiding undue burdens on smaller businesses and premises, the Government launched a public consultation.

“We are reviewing its findings to ensure all feedback is fully considered, and working to finalise the legislation with a view to introducing as soon as parliamentary time allows.”