SPECIAL REPORT: Wetherby MP in Brussels for security discussions following terrorist attack

Alec Shelbrooke MP for Elmet and Rothwell

Alec Shelbrooke MP for Elmet and Rothwell

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Alec Shelbrooke MP has described the ‘solidarity’ he witnessed amongst Belgium’s visitors and residents following the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday (March 22).

The MP for Elmet and Rothwell was visiting the city for another NATO meeting as part of his new role as a UK representative when the twin attacks took place at the Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station.

The bombings which took place at about 7am (GMT) are believed to have killed at least 30 people but Mr Shelbrooke said at the scene there is a sense of solidarity.

Mr Shelbrooke said: "I arrived in Brussels on Sunday evening ahead of a delegation meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at NATO headquarters.

"On Tuesday morning, whilst en route from the city centre to the NATO headquarters on the northeast perimeter of the city, I was alerted to news of an explosion at Brussels airport.

"I spent most of the day in discussions inside the NATO headquarters but returned to the city centre [on Tuesday] evening where there is a deep sense of solidarity among residents and visitors.

"Within our delegation our thoughts have been with the families of those killed in this barbaric attack on the freedom and security of innocent civilians."

The so-called Islamic State (IS) have now claimed they are behind the attacks on the city and Mr Shelbrooke said threats from the group have been discussed in the NATO assembly meetings.

He said: "This week the delegation on the Assembly have been discussing broader security risks to member states of the North Atlantic alliance; including those posed to the UK and Europe by Isil."

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel has also declared three days of national mourning and the country has raised its terrorism alert to the highest level.

Mr Shelbrooke said: "Police and military personnel were quick to act and remain visible during this state of high security. Public transport systems, the Eurostar and the airport have all been locked down until further notice."