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Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for repeating the Statement today. It was right that Parliament should be recalled in view of the enormity of this atrocity. I congratulate the Prime Minister on his firm and decisive response. I endorse many of the specific comments made by him in recent days.

We on this side also wish to associate ourselves with the Leader of the House in expressing our deepest sympathy and condolences to the thousands of innocent victims, their families and their friends. In particular, I think of the many British people who have lost relatives, colleagues and friends in this catastrophe. We grieve for them and with them.

However, our concern and sympathy knows no boundaries. It goes to the citizens of the United States, Australia, Japan and all other nations who have been bereaved by this catastrophe. This was an attack not only on America; it was, as many have already said, an attack on us all. I cannot express it more highly. The reality is that no words are adequate to express the emotions that we feel. Each of us will carry personal thoughts with us for the rest of our lives. We remember those families in our prayers and we will not forget them. What is more, we express our utter contempt for those who planned, supported and carried out these infamous crimes. We must not forget them either.

We express our total solidarity with President Bush, members of Congress, the mayor of New York and all those responsible for leading in the aftermath of this tragedy. I trust that we shall all join in saying to the people of the United States, "In this appalling hour, Britain, a fellow freedom-loving nation, stands alongside you wholeheartedly, without equivocation and come what may".

I wonder whether the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House would consider sending a message of support and sympathy from this House to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to Vice-President Cheney, as President of the Senate. That would be a fitting tribute.

We shall of course have a much fuller debate later today, so I shall simply make some brief points. First, we accept no excuses, no explanations and no apologies from anyone. This was premeditated mass murder. It deserves the most united, determined and unqualified response from every nation of the world. We are not yet certain who the perpetrators were, but in time we will be. We do not know whether any government assisted them but, again, in time we will. No one should leap to conclusions. However, evidence is already accumulating and will the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House assure us that, when the US authorities have sufficient proof, Britain will support President Bush in the action that he orders against these criminals and their sponsors and that this country will provide whatever practical or logistical support we can?

Secondly, the Prime Minister talked of the machinery of terror in the world. There are many terrorist organisations that have contacts with each

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other--from South East Asia to Kosovo, Albania and South America--which are linked and which deal with each other. That international network traffics in death, drugs, arms and human suffering and misery. It respects no moral values or borders. We must allow it no safe haven. Does the noble and learned Lord accept that we need to be realistic about the nature of this international threat? Those organisations are hugely and increasingly wealthy and carefully organised and are supported and sheltered often by the governments of some countries. The machinery of terror is far-reaching and it shares a common purpose--to subvert our societies and exploit the weak.

We have recently seen disturbing links between the IRA and marxist guerrillas in Colombia. Last autumn we saw Provisional IRA supporters meeting openly in London with Kurdish extremists. An international threat requires an international response. Does the noble and learned Lord agree that the democratic countries of the world need to bear down, united and unrelenting, on every link in the terrorist network? There is no soft or hard terrorism; there is only terrorism. We must break its financial backers, dissuade its political sympathisers, choke off its arms and confront countries that give it refuge and support. There must be no appeasement.

Both the Prime Minister and President Bush are right to say that finance is a key issue. I hope that the Government will review all sources of finance for terrorist or terrorist-linked organisations in our country. Will the Prime Minister undertake, for example, to review urgently the legislation that allows Sinn Fein-IRA and other Northern Ireland parties, alone among British political parties, to raise money abroad? He will find us keen to help in framing new legislation on this and other measures.

Finally, I have three brief observations. First, we must keep blame pointed where it should be--on the terrorists. No one should join in a game of recrimination or blame about why this happened--that can give satisfaction only to the terrorists. Nor, I hope, will anyone portray the calm and measured response of President Bush and his team as involving weakness or uncertainty. Those who take that line will find that they are making a very grave mistake.

Secondly, the target chosen was an economic as well as a national and city symbol. The world already stands in a perilous economic position. No one should talk up the cost of the damage done or the dangers to the world economy because confidence is a fragile thing. Confidence is one of the weapons that we will all need successfully to fight such terrorism. Will the noble and learned Lord join me in congratulating the central banks and other authorities that have acted swiftly and responsibly to avoid any blow to the world's financial system?

In conclusion, the mood of this House and this country is clear. We are shocked, yes, but calm, committed and determined that life will go on as normal and that the world will not be changed, that justice will be done, that terrorism will be defeated and

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that our Government must play a full and unequivocal part in that. They can be sure in that of the Opposition's unswerving support.

10.6 a.m.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: My Lords, on behalf of these Benches, I welcome the Prime Minister's Statement and the words he chose--both their tone and substance. It was right that Parliament was recalled and we may well have to meet again before 15th October if developments justify that.

It is too soon to measure the full weight and direction of these terrible events. Above all, this has been a tragedy for the American people. We share their profound shock, we remember the men and women--the many thousands of them--who have died and we mourn with their families and friends. Of course we include the loss of life of many United Kingdom citizens.

The turbulent consequences are now beginning. The international political landscape is dramatically changing. It is not a cliche to say that a premium will be attached to the nerve and wisdom of world leaders. The Cold War dominated a generation in almost every country. Those leaders, East and West, knew their calculated risks and their balanced choices. There are no such rules to mediate this new unpredictable conflict.

There are many questions. A massive failure of security led to these events. It will not be easy to protect our free and open society without compromising values. Terrorism must be defeated but if we are to make a safer world it must be one world, not a divided world of rich and poor.

As for the American response, it will be immensely difficult to show restraint. I hope that President Bush will take a long view and include in that the political dimension by which terrorism will be removed. I shall not raise further questions--my colleagues will speak during the debate.

10.9 a.m.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I stress how grateful we all were to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, for his response--he displayed the dignity and decency that we all know so well. I gratefully accept, on behalf of all of us, his imaginative suggestion that we should send such a letter; I shall see to that today.

The noble Lord asked a particular question to which I respond by turning to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. It is worth bearing its words in mind. I said earlier, when I was repeating the Prime Minister's Statement, that this is the first time that that article has ever been invoked. Article 5 states:

    "The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all, and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually, and in concert with the

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    other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area".

The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, sought reassurance about the firm solidarity that we are demonstrating to our friends and colleagues in the United States. Everyone that I have encountered agrees that the Prime Minister's immediate, firm, unconditional support to the people and government of the United States in their time of need resonates throughout our country. There will be no deviation from that.

The noble Lord is right; this is an international threat. Such gross crimes need substantial funding. We must be more diligent than we have been in pursuing the vast amounts of money which are transmitted internationally and are inevitably required for the kind of criminal activity witnessed earlier this week. As your Lordships know, that legislation is well under way.

All recent governments in this country are able to say that they have appropriately supported the United States, which was struck not because it is the United States but because it is such a significant leader of the free world. The noble Lord, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank, was right to say that when the response comes it must not overlook the core values which it is intended to defend and protect. All legislation dealing with terrorism is constantly kept under review, as it should be.

Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, asked about the central banks and institutions. It is right to say that they have behaved with remarkable prudence and fortitude. It seems that the New York markets will be open by Monday. The oil price has stabilised. There has been general assistance on an internationally co-operative basis to maintain economic circumstances which, plainly, one of the purposes of the attacks was to erode or to destroy.

10.13 a.m.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for repeating the Statement, which talked about shades of opinion. I am sure that Her Majesty's Government will agree that there can be no shades of opinion about the killing of so many thousands of innocent people. I am sure, too, that all Cross-Benchers will want to be associated with expressions of sympathy and condolence to the bereaved.

Does Her Majesty's Government agree that the scale of such terrorist action can point only to highly sophisticated, planned, organised acts of carnage with control arrangements which can take account of such factors as the weather and changes in flight plans? Is that not a clear indication that highly sophisticated arrangements were put in place by the perpetrators of those terrible acts?

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