Before I say anything else, I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Liberal Democrats when I say that our hearts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Alan Henning and David Haines for their tragic loss.
These were good men. In the work they did they stood for hope and compassion – the things that everyone in this room believes are more important than anything else. We have to take on the cowards who took their lives. We have to defeat their barbarity to help protect the millions of people who now live under the threat and fear of these merciless killers. Britain will not be intimidated. We will not be divided. We will not allow this brutal organisation to pervert Islam.
And to Isil we say this: All you have done is unite the people of Britain – Muslim and non-Muslim, people of all faiths and none – around a single aim. All you have done is give the British forces who are being deployed to Iraq – some of the best professionals in the world – a clear, single objective. We and our allies – including in the Middle East – are going to find you, we are going to destroy your bases, we will cut off your supplies, isolate you from your support – and for the sake of peace, democracy and the freedom of all those you terrorise, we are not going to stop until it’s done.
And let’s also take this opportunity to pay tribute to our armed forces – including the RAF personnel who are being deployed over Iraq, as well as the many men and women helping fight dangerous threats across the world.