Andy Burnham: Manchester bombing an 'evil act' targeting children

Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester metro mayor, has said the attack was an "evil act" that had caused anger, shock and hurt.

Speaking on Tuesday morning the former Labour MP said the city would do what it could to operate as usual.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall after a suicide bomber killed 22 people

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall after a suicide bomber killed 22 people

He said: "It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours, and to put into words the shock, anger, and hurt that we feel today.

"These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

"This was an evil act."

He offered his support to the families of the victims, and paid tribute to locals who had opened their doors to strangers and offered shelter to those fleeing the Manchester Arena and evacuated areas.

Mr Burnham said this was the "best possible message to those who seek to divide us", and would be the prevailing spirit of Manchester.

He said: "We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual, as far as possible in our great city."

The former health secretary thanked the hundreds of emergency services personnel who worked through the night in the most "difficult circumstances imaginable", and those who had offered their support from other cities and countries.

More on the incident in Manchester:

Islamic state claim responsibility for Manchester Arena suicide bombing

Manchester attack: How you can help – wherever you are

8 year-old girl from Tarleton confirmed dead in 'terror attack' at Manchester Arena

More than a dozen Ribble Valley school pupils at Manchester bomb attack gig

Man arrested in connection with terror attacks at Manchester Arena

Friends pay tribute to “beautiful girl” killed in Manchester Arena bombing

Bishop's condolences to Manchester terror victims

Homeless man cradled dying woman in his arms

Lancashire schoolgirls were minutes from Manchester horror bomb blast

Wigan schoolgirl tells of Manchester bombing horror

Region's football clubs shocked by Manchester Arena terror attack

Andy Burnham: Manchester bombing an 'evil act' targeting children

Preston mum tells of horror after witnessing 'terror attack' aftermath at Manchester Arena

'It shook my whole body' - Blackpool mum caught up in 'explosion' at Manchester Arena

UPDATE: Children and young people confirmed among the dead after 'terrorist incident' in Manchester

Northern rail service changes following suspected terrorist incident at Manchester Arena