Metro Centre threat was just 'rumour' but David Cameron says Paris-style terror attack could happen in UK

David Cameron
David Cameron
Have your say

As the world reels in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, David Cameron reveals that security services have prevented seven terror attacks in the last six months.

He also warned that a Paris-style terror attack could happen here

Northumbria Police acted at the weekend to dismiss a message circulating on social media about a potential security risk to the Metrocentre, saying it "appears to be nothing more than an online rumour".

A statement posted on the force's Facebook page on Sunday morning read: "After any major incident there is always an increase in concern around safety and with that comes a lot of speculation and rumour.

"It's only right that people remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to us or the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321."

The Prime Minister is meeting Vladimir Putin on the fringes of the G20 summit in Turkey as Western allies try to persuade the Russian president to co-operate in the international struggle against terror group Islamic State (IS) in the wake of attacks in Paris and Egypt.

Mr Cameron said he hoped the talks with the Russian president will be "positive" and said there were hopeful signs that a political solution could be found but admitted there would be "compromises".

The terror spree in France "was the sort of thing we warned about" in planning with the security services but such atrocities meant "you have to go right back to the drawing board" to work out what more steps needed to be taken, he said.

Asked if Britain was at war with IS, the premier said the UK stands in "total solidarity" with France and would do "everything we can" to defeat the jihadis.

The Prime Minister indicated he wanted to speed up plans for introducing new spying powers under the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme "we should look at the timetable".

He added: "We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalising people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks.

"Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale."

Mr Cameron said he will not hold a vote on extending British military action into Syria until he knows he has the support to get it through because failing would be "damaging" for Britain's "reputation in the world".

He said: "Isil don't recognise a border between Iraq and Syria and neither should we. But I need to build the argument, I need to take it to Parliament, I need to convince more people."

Mr Cameron insisted it was "very important that we carry on with our lives" when pressed on whether he would be happy to take his children to the England France football friendly on Tuesday.

"Our freedom depends on showing resolve and carrying on with our way of life, which is exactly what we ought to do."

The summit of 20 leading world economies at the Mediterranean resort of Antalya - just 300 miles from the Syrian border - has been dominated by the fight against terror, following Friday's slaughter of 129 people in Paris and the death of 224 on board the Russian Metrojet Airbus in Egypt last month.

The Prime Minister will attempt to reassure Mr Putin that Russia's interests would be protected in the transition to a new settlement in Syria after the departure of president Bashar Assad, a close ally of Moscow.

The West hopes that last month's downing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai - which Britain believes was caused by an IS bomb - will help persuade Mr Putin to shift his stance on Syria and turn his firepower against the terror group which holds large swathes of the country.

Mr Putin claims the campaign of airstrikes he launched in September is directed at "terrorists", but the West accuses him of instead targeting the forces of the moderate opposition ranged against Assad.

The Prime Minister told Today: "The disagreement has been that we think that Assad should go at once and obviously Russia has taken a different view.

"We have to find a settlement where Assad leaves and there is a government that can bring Syria together and we mustn't let the gap between us be the alter on which the country of Syria is slaughtered.

"That is the challenge. Now that is going to take compromises."

Mr Cameron's talks with Mr Putin will be followed by a meeting of the Quint - an informal group of Western powers within the G20, made up of the UK, US, France, Germany and Italy - to assess progress and discuss how further efforts on Syria can be co-ordinated.

And the leaders will observe the international minute's silence for Paris at 11am UK time.