A public inquiry will be launched into the deaths of the 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing “as soon as practicably possible”, the Home Secretary has said.

The announcement comes as the younger brother of suicide bomber Salman pleaded not guilty to multiple murder charges at a hearing at the Old Bailey. He was extradited from Libya earlier this year.

Six of the victims of the attack were from the North East and North Yorkshire.

Sir John Saunders, the retired High Court judge leading the inquests, had already recommended that the proceedings be adjourned and a public inquiry established so that sensitive evidence from the security services and anti-terror police could be heard in private.

He made the decision after deciding that disclosing some of the evidence in public would "assist terrorists" in carrying out similar atrocities.

Setting up a public inquiry would mean that such evidence could be heard in private session without the families of the victims and their lawyers being present.

Home secretary Priti Patel announced a public inquiry on Tuesday. Credit: PA Images.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the decision was made after “careful consideration” of his advice.

It is vital that those who survived or lost loved ones in the Manchester Arena attack get the answers that they need and that we learn the lessons, whatever they may be…

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Hundreds of people were injured when Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Hashem Abedi, 22,

The inquiry will be the first since 9/11 to take place partly behind closed doors.