Terror attacks in France and Vienna could have 'galvanising effect' in UK, Security Minister warns
Terror attacks in France and Vienna could have had a “galvanising effect” in the UK, Britain’s Security Minister has warned.
James Brokenshire today spoke out against the attacks, which had seen the UK's terrorism threat level upgraded from "substantial" to "severe".
The move means security chiefs believe that an attack is highly likely, but there is not a specific incident expected.
Making a statement in the Commons, the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP said: “The recent terrorist attacks in France and Monday night’s attack in Vienna suggest that the temperature of the threat in Europe is rising.
“I should stress that this change in the threat level is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat.
“However, there is a risk that the recent attacks in France and Austria could have a galvanising effect in other parts of Europe, including the UK, and the change in threat level is therefore seen as prudent.
“We know that these incidents can be exploited by those who want to further their own cause, especially on online platforms.
"I’m pleased to note that communities from across the UK stand together in uniformly condemning the attacks in Vienna and France.”
Assessments of threat levels are made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), which makes its recommendations independently from the government.
It follows Monday night's shooting in Vienna in which four people died.
Last week, three others were murdered in a knife attack in Nice, France, while a teacher was killed in Paris last month.
Mr Brokenshire explained the attacks were a reminder of the threats facing Britain.
He said: “The UK faces a serious and enduring threat from terrorism.
"Recent events in France and Vienna have provided a stark and brutal reminder of the risks that we face and the continuing need to be resolute in the face of those who would wish to sow division and hatred.
“This government is committed to tackling terrorism in all its forms and supporting our friends, partners and allies against those who would do us harm. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France and Austria at this time of hurt and pain.
“Our thoughts are with the bereaved and all those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
"We have made formal offers of support to their governments and underlined our shared resolve to stand together in solidarity against the extremists who despise our liberal values and our very way of life.”
He added that since March 2017, the UK police and security forces had foiled 27 plots, including eight motivated by right-wing ideologies.
Earlier this week Home Secretary Priti Patel insisted the move was a “precautionary measure”.
She explained: "The first and most important duty of the government is obviously to protect the British people and we are doing that and continue to do that through the measures and tools that we’ve put in place in terms of dealing with terrorism and terrorist activity.
“People should be alert, but not alarmed and report concerns to the police.”
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