Cllr Peter Golds says that shock of the Brighton bombing will stay with him forever


- Credit: Archant

October 12 is a date that I shall never forget. Twenty-nine years ago it was a warm night. I had been partying and at 2.45am I was walking back to my hotel, on the Hove seafront. Behind me I heard a muffled noise and my friend whom I was walking with looked round as seconds later police and fire engine alarms clattered from everywhere. I had witnessed the IRA attempt to assassinate the British government.

I was staying at the same hotel as a long-standing colleague, Tony Dey, the Conservative agent for Southgate. Early in the morning he received a call at the hotel from his wife saying that the police were trying to contact him.

On calling the police he was asked had he heard from his MP, which he had not, and would he stay in Brighton and in touch.

The Conservative conference amazingly continued, starting on schedule at 9.30am. However, the lobbies and refreshment areas were full of people looking out for colleagues as rumours swirled around.

Eventually in late afternoon, Tony Dey was told that a dog lead and ring belonging to Sir Anthony Berry, his MP, had been identified and that he could go home.

There were four of us plus luggage in the car and scarcely a word was spoken between Brighton and London.

We do know that immediately the security services were searching for the bombers. Perhaps if Edward Snowden and Alan Rushbridger had endured that car journey their view on security and public safety would be less self-centred.

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