The scenes of terrorism we saw at London Bridge and Borough Market just over a week ago were something that will be etched into the minds of Londoners for years to come.
What should have passed as a usual summer’s Saturday night, with people enjoying the best that London’s entertainment can offer at our many bars and restaurants, ended up with eight deaths and numerous casualties.
I was in working in the Square Mile at the time of the Bishopsgate bomb in 1993 and I vividly remember standing with colleagues during my lunch looking at the scenes of destruction in the aftermath of the truck explosion. Buildings had all their windows blown out and debris was everywhere.
You look at the same area now, compare it to then, and recognise it is thriving more than ever, with a centre for peace and reconciliation tucked away in its heart in a church which had been in the middle of the blast.
It shows that London is resilient. The thousands who turned up to the Potters Fields Park vigil on Thursday are testament to that very fact. We face up to adversity as a city and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the boroughs of London. As a capital, we have come through dark days before. We have done since the time of the Blitz, to the bombings of the IRA in the 1970s, from the 7/7 terrorism attack to the atrocity of the Westminster Bridge fatalities in March.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, friends and those affected by the terrible incident.
I also want to thank our emergency services who took such brave and decisive action in responding to and dealing with the terrorists. Both the Metropolitan Police – the City of London Police, who were one of the first responders on the scene – and ambulance services should be commended. Their actions meant the death toll was fortunately no higher.
But, as countless others have said, we cannot allow acts of barbarism to affect the way we go about our daily lives. We should still enjoy the many attractions in the capital, from the museums, sporting events, cultural venues, to our restaurants and bars.
The City has tried to help the borough of Southwark in any way we could do so over the last week and our offer to find space in St Paul’s Churchyard for Borough Market traders who otherwise would not be able to open for business was a small gesture of this.
We will work to ensure London remains one of the safest cities in the world for residents, workers, businesses and visitors.
I am certain that the new government, when in place, will do all they can to place security and the safety of our residents, workers and visitors in London right at the very top of their list of priorities. The City of London will all we can do support in this endeavour.