Thoughts and prayers after Paris - and looking to our security

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell outside Houses of Parliament SUS-150722-141636001
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell outside Houses of Parliament SUS-150722-141636001

The big story of the last few days is of course the tragedy in Paris. ISIL murdered 129 people on a normal Friday night out in Paris - and it could have been many more. So what happens now?

The world unites with the Tricolour being beamed onto landmarks, and tens of thousands singing ‘La Marseillaise’ at Wembley on Tuesday night - a beautiful sight, unity is all.

One thing is for sure - we mustn’t live in fear. That is not what our forefathers fought for. The freedom, democracy and culture we enjoy is exactly what those in ISIL seek to destroy.

Our hearts go out to the French people and all those who lost loved ones in the attacks in Paris. We stand together with France in defeating ISIL and look to how we can do more to protect our national security.

I take no pleasure in a single death - all are equal. Hours before Paris, dozens were killed in Lebanon, and 200+ in the Russian plane that was downed over Egypt just three weeks ago. Each and every one a tragedy.

Of course it’s happened before close to home in London, Paris, Madrid and elsewhere. And that’s without mentioning the Tunisian beach a few months ago, and New York.

So where do we go from here? Certainly I welcome the PMs announcement of 1,900 more officers at M15, M16 and GCHQ to ensure we’re kept safe. This investment pays off time and again, with a number of terrorist plots foiled just this year - each one could have ended in tragedy.

The security of the people is the first role of Government, and protecting the British people remains the top priority. We must continue to do everything we can to combat those who want to destroy us and the values we hold.

There are no guarantees of course, but there are things we can do to strengthen our defences.

The new Investigatory Powers bill is at draft stage, but has many good aspects to it. There are other things we can do too, and we have already committed to more training to enhance security at airports, better screening technology, additional aviation security to name a few.

So for now my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as a special thought for my Muslim friends locally who I know to be peace loving and a genuine asset to our society, who share our values and contribute exponentially to our society.