Party leaders unite to send solidarity and support to those impacted by Manchester attack
PARTY LEADERS and the whole Scottish Parliament stood united with those impacted by the attack on Manchester late on Monday night [22 May].
In a rearranged schedule to allow tributes and statements of support, leaders of the five main political groups all delivered statements of solidarity with those who had lost loved ones or were left fearful by events at the Manchester arena, where at least 22 people were killed.
MSPs and the entire parliamentary estate also observed a minute’s silence.
The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh said: “Colleagues, there is a tangible sense of shock and sorrow in Parliament as we come together today and reflect on the events of last night in Manchester. The fact that those deliberately targeted in the attack were innocent children and young people, who had come together to enjoy a concert, makes the news all the more devastating.
“However, with our sorrow comes compassion and a sense of determination—compassion for the victims and their families; gratitude for the emergency services and all those who rushed to the scene to offer help and comfort; and determination to stand with the people of Manchester in the face of such horror.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We know that terrorists and extremists seek to divide us and to destroy our way of life. As human beings, we cannot comprehend the twisted motivations that lead people to carry out such atrocities, particularly when they target children and young people in such a callous way. Our best response now—and always—is to stand firm together, with determination and in solidarity, to make it clear to those who seek to undermine our values, target our children and destroy our way of life that they will not succeed now or ever.
“Today, there are many people who are suffering pain and grief that we can scarcely imagine, and there are others who are still consumed by worry and uncertainty about their loved ones. Let us hold them firmly in our hearts today and in the many difficult days that lie ahead.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson added: “Let us all in this Parliament extend our solidarity with the people of Manchester who, like the people of Paris, London, Brussels and Nice, have responded with courage and decency in the face of cowardice and evil. Manchester will now be added to the grim roll-call of those cities across Europe that have been affected by this terrorism. Like those other cities, it will first cry, then grieve and then continue with spirit unbroken, showing that terrorism will never win.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “What we can do is respond well. We can teach our children that the only way to counter such barbarity is not with hate and fear but with compassion, tolerance, kindness and love, like the people of Manchester did last night, flocking to help, taking people home, offering places to stay and searching for children who had become separated from their parents; and like those who work in our emergency services did—as they always do—running unflinching towards horror rather than away from it, to offer comfort, care and rescue.”
Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, spoke of his time in Manchester: “I lived there for around five years, as a student and shortly after. Not long after I left Manchester, it experienced a terrorist bombing in the city centre. Manchester came together. Its people stood together and supported one another. They became strong and showed their resilience. I have no doubt at all that Manchester will do the same again.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie added: “Our better human values will prevail. It is hard today, here and in Manchester, to say that, but our better human values will prevail.”
Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV
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