‘Targeting children is evil, terrorists will never win’ – General Election campaigning suspended following Manchester terror attack that killed 22, as candidates express condolences

Police near the Manchester Arena the morning after the terror attack at the end of American star Ari

Police near the Manchester Arena the morning after the terror attack at the end of American star Ariana Grande's show. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Political parties have suspended campaigning for the June 8 General Election following last night’s suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena.

Some 22 concert-goers, including children, were killed – with dozens more injured – when a lone attacker detonated an improvised explosive device as people were leaving the Manchester Arena after the show by American pop star Ariana Grande.

North East Herts’ Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates have all posted condolences on Twitter.

Conservative Sir Oliver Heald wrote: “Terrible incident in Manchester Arena. Thoughts with those injured, families and friends of those lost.”

Doug Swanney, of Labour, posted: “Shocked at the news this morning from Manchester. Thoughts and prayers there today.”

And the Lib Dems’ Nicky Shepard said: “I am so sad to hear of the attack in Manchester. My prayers are with the families involved and emergency workers.”

In Stevenage, meanwhile, Conservative Stephen McPartland tweeted: “Thoughts and prayers with families of those hurt and killed in Manchester. Targeting children is evil, terrorists will never win. #WeStandTogether.”

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Labour’s Sharon Taylor cited the support offered by ordinary Mancunians to those affected by the atrocity, writing: ‘The true spirit of Manchester’.

North East Beds’ Tory candidate Alistair Burt – whose last tweets before the attack focused on remembering murdered MP Jo Cox – retweeted that Manchester taxi drivers were offering free rides, and that children were being sheltered at a Holiday Inn in the city.

Other candidates in North East Beds, Mid Beds and across the area expressed similar sentiments.

Ariana Grande – who has indefinitely suspended her world tour following the atrocity – tweeted: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don’t have words.”

Bishop Angaelos, head of the Stevenage-based UK Coptic Church, said: “Heartbreaking that innocent lives again become a means to making a statement. Praying for the brokenness of our world.”

Our Lady’s Catholic church in Hitchin’s Nightingale Road will be holding a special serice at 7.15pm following the attack.

Churches Together in Hitchin, whose council are set to meet from 8pm at St Faith’s Church in Woolgrove Road, have said the church will be open from 7pm beforehand for quiet prayer.

Therfield Chapel will also hold a one-hour prayer vigil tonight from 8.30pm.

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