THE son of a Birmingham pub bombings victim has welcomed news that an arrest has been made in connection with the 1974 attack.

West Midlands Police announced earlier today that counter terrorism police had arrested a man in Belfast in connection with enquiries into the murders of 21 people who died when IRA blasts that tore through the Mulberry Bush and Tavern In The Town pubs on November 21, 1974.

Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU, working with colleagues from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, arrested a 65-year-old man at his home in Belfast today (Wednesday November 18).

A spokesman for the force said: "The man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and a search of his home is being carried out.

"He will be interviewed under caution at a police station in Northern Ireland."

Paul Rowlands, from Lye, who was just 11 when he lost his father John (pictured below) in the attacks, was taken aback by the development.

Stourbridge News: John RowlandsJohn Rowlands

He said: "It came as a hell of a surprise - totally out of the blue.

"We had no idea it was going to be announced or that anybody was going to be arrested. It's a really positive step, the first positive step we've had for some time. It's welcome news."

He and families of the victims are still "fighting for a public inquiry" into the atrocities after long-awaited inquests into the victims' deaths concluded last year and "left us with more questions than answers".

Campaigners are due to meet with Home Secretary Priti Patel in December to discuss the matter.

Mr Rowlands said a public inquiry would examine the questions that could not be answered by the inquests which found those who died were unlawfully killed.