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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
'Stock up to beat terror attack'
Stocking up
The minister advised being prepared for attack
Home Office Minister Hazel Blears has encouraged Britons to be prepared in case of a terrorist attack.

The minister was quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying people should stock up on tinned food, water and medical supplies.

She said the government plans to issue guidance for dealing with an attack.

However Ms Blears later played down her comment, telling the BBC she never went into that "kind of detail" in the interview.

The Telegraph quotes the minister as saying: "You should have all the phone numbers you need, you should know what's going on in schools.

"Most people would be sensible about water and making sure they have some tinned food. If they take medication, they would need to know where that was. A lot of it is common sense."

She said the terrorist threat is "serious, it is credible, it is real, it has increased since 9/11 and it is going to be with us for the long term".

'Be prepared'

However, she disagreed with previous comments by Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, that a terrorist attack is inevitable.

But she did say the government has a responsibility to put appropriate measures in place.

It would be an irresponsible government if we didn't make sure we had proper plans in place should any event occur
Hazel Blears
Home Office
"We've got to be prepared because it would be unrealistic and irresponsible for a government to say: 'Oh well it's not going to happen so we won't bother'.

"I don't want to say there could be a terrorist attack tomorrow therefore you've got to live your life in fear of it.

"But there's a responsibility for us to be as open as we can. This isn't a traditional war where the Armed Forces are going to go out and fight on your behalf," she told the Daily Telegraph.

However later on Monday, Ms Blears told the BBC One Breakfast programme she never went into to "that kind of detail with the reporter".

"We discussed the need for people to have information in this area, the fact that we've put websites up, the fact that we do want to have a dialogue with the public about these very important issues.

"I didn't go into that kind of detail with the reporter. It would be an irresponsible government if we didn't make sure we had proper plans in place should any event occur."

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