There are not many things to celebrate about Gordon Brown’s time in office. He was a vilified leader; often quite rightly so. His Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, did not fare much better. However, a recent terror trial in New York showed that the criticism they received was not always deserved.
On 8 April 2009, a large terrorist cell based in northwest England was arrested. The cell had been dispatched to the UK by al-Qaeda in 2006 in preparation for an attack, the majority entering the UK on bogus student visas.
The plot is thought to have involved a car bomb attack against Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre, with a team of suicide bombers ready to detonate their devices among fleeing civilians. The suspects were known to have photographed several busy Manchester shopping areas, and a series of emails had been exchanged between an al-Qaeda facilitator based in Pakistan and the northwest cell’s ringleader, Abid Naseer.