Woolwich soldier murder must not lead army to retreat into barracks, said Dewsbury and Mirfield MP

Simon Reevell said the attack should not force us to change the way we live
Simon Reevell said the attack should not force us to change the way we live

The vicious murder of a soldier in a London street should not lead our armed forces to retreat into barracks, Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell said.

Mr Reevell, who served in the army himself, has condemned the attack on a soldier near barracks in Woolwich on Wednesday.

But he said the army should not be quick to return to the days when it advised personnel not to wear uniforms in public.

Although the victim was not wearing army uniform at the time, eye-witnesses said one of the perpetrators said he carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day.

Mr Reevell said: “We should not allow this vicious attack to change the way we live. When I was in the army, we used to walk around in uniform, but IRA attacks changed that. We have a culture now when the military is proud to wear uniform, and rightly so, and we can’t allow these horrific actions to change that or see our soldiers retreat into barracks.”

His thoughts were echoed by Mirfield councillor and former military man David Pinder, who said the attack brought back memories of IRA attacks in the 70s and 80s, when forces personnel and their families would have to check beneath their cars for explosives before getting in.

Coun Pinder said: “This attack was perhaps unique in its barbarism, and the fact that the men hung around afterwards.

“But we have a culture of freedom of speech, and sometimes this philosophy, given the right circumstance, can be abused to make people think that their beliefs, and their actions are correct and justified.

“We must not, however, stop having welcome home parties or see our soldiers skulk into the background. We have to meet this thing head on.”

The Kirklees Imams and Mosques Advisory Board (KIMAB), the representative body of all Muslim denominations in Kirklees said: “This is an act of madness; indeed the attack is barbaric, dishonourable and unjustifiable, and it has no basis in Islam and we condemn this wholeheartedly.

“We offer our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the victim’s family and friends. KIMAB is proud that Muslims have a long tradition of serving in this country’s Armed Forces honourably both here and abroad.

“At times like this, we all have a duty to come together in solidarity and ensure that the forces of hatred do not divide us.”