7/7: MPs share their memories of terrorist attack
- Credit: Archant
Ten years ago today, 52 people were killed in the 7/7 London bombings.
Barking MP Margaret Hodge and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas recall their memories of the fateful day.
Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham:
7/7 is a day I will never forget. That morning I got to the House of Commons very early and was heading back to the Borough for a meeting in Valence House when first reports came in on Five Live of power surges on the Tube network as I was driving east along the embankment.
Within minutes listeners were ringing in with unbelievable horror stories of explosions on tubes and buses just as I was passing Tower Hill Station and seeing for myself the thousands walking and running down from the Aldgate blast.
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Realising I had family members travelling by tube that morning what followed were terrible hours not knowing who was safe and who wasn’t as the mobile network had crashed.
Later, I was to discover that my constituent, Gladys Wundowa, had been killed on the bus in Tavistock Square – blown up by an 18-year-old kid from Yorkshire with a backpack full of explosives.
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I spoke at the Commemorative Service at Westminster for Gladys and, as the MP, I tried to help the family. What struck me was how the tragedy had such an impact on the victims and all of their families in so many ways.
Two weeks after 7/7 it felt like it was all happening again. They were terrible times.
Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking:
I just remember the total disbelief and desperate sadness that we all felt.
With over 750 people killed or injured, the tragedy touched huge numbers of lives, including here in Barking and Dagenham.
A young girl who had a been a student at Barking Abbey was actually sitting next to the suicide bomber on the bus which was blown up in Tavistock Square, where my sister was working at the time.
My son-in-law Nicky’s aunt, who lived in Chadwell Heath, was also killed; as was another young man from Barking who was a victim of the Aldgate bombing.
One local resident and tube driver, Jeff Porter, who was driving by Aldgate just after the bomb went off, heroically helped stranded passengers walk down the line to safety.
Unfortunately after 7/7 we then had a horrible period where the BNP tried to exploit the tragedy for their own purposes by blaming it all on the British Muslim population. However we in the Borough rejected that vile politics and chose to move forward together.
Commemorating the events of 10 years ago is an opportunity not just to mourn those whose lives were lost, but to remember the importance of remaining strong and united as a community.