A MAN has been arrested in connection with the murders of 21 people in the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham.

The arrest comes just days before the 46h anniversary of the two deadly November 21 blasts which ripped apart the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs.

West Midlands Police said officers from the West Midlands counter terrorism unit, working with colleagues from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), arrested a 65-year-old man at his home in Belfast on Wednesday.

The Northern Echo: Birmingham pub bombing victims Birmingham pub bombing victims

The man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and a search of his home is being carried out.

The force said he would be interviewed under caution at a police station in Northern Ireland.

It comes just a month after Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would consider holding a public inquiry into the bombings.

Ms Patel also wanted to visit Birmingham to meet justice campaigners, including Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the bombings.

Responding to news of the arrest Ms Hambleton called it “the most monumental event” in the criminal investigation into the bombings since the quashing of the convictions of the Birmingham Six in 1991.

When she was telephoned by a senior West Midlands Police officer with news of the arrest on Wednesday, she told of how she broke down in tears.

“I couldn’t speak, I was just inconsolable and was just looking at the picture of Maxine,” she said.

“It’s welcome news. It’s overwhelming news.It’s tangible progress.”

In April last year, an inquest jury found a botched IRA warning call led to the deaths of 21 people unlawfully killed in the atrocity.

The two bombs planted in the two pubs also injured up to 220 other victims.

A flawed investigation by West Midlands Police led to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six – one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.