Ed Miliband's response to statement on the Algeria hostage crisis

18 January 2013

ed miliband- CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY -

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said in the House of Commons today:


Can I thank the Prime Minister for his statement.

Let me say to him on behalf of the Opposition that the Government has our full support as it responds to these tragic and appalling events.

And can I echo the words of the Prime Minister in offering our deepest concern and sympathy to the families and loved ones affected by this shocking act of terror. The thoughts of the House and the country are with all those families enduring the uncertainty of waiting for news of their loved ones.

Alongside Algerians and other foreign nationals, those involved are British citizens, seeking to earn an honest living, far from home and their families. It is appalling that innocent, decent people have been targeted in this way.

There is no, nor can there ever be, any justification for the taking of hostages.

Those who planned and are responsible for this attack must be in no doubt that Britain, along with the international community, stands united in condemnation.

It is the hostage-takers who bear the responsibility for these events.

And we must do everything in our power to bring them to justice.

I appreciate that the operation on the ground is still ongoing, so the Prime Minister is restricted in the information he can reveal. Bearing this in mind I’d like to ask him some questions.

First, the families of those affected will need support and care at this difficult time.

So can he assure the House that all necessary support will be provided, either directly here or through our consular services in the region, to the families of those involved?

Second, there are a number of other such foreign-owned installations of this kind in Algeria and the wider region.

Can the Prime Minister provide some information to the House about how the Government is working with British companies to review the security situation at these facilities?

Third, given that this incident happened in an isolated part of southern Algeria, what is the Government’s advice for UK nationals working, living or traveling in Algeria or the wider region?

Fourth, at this early stage what information is the Prime Minister able to share about the motives and identity of the terrorist cell responsible for this attack?

More broadly can he set out what is the Government’s assessment of the level of threat posed by groups connected to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb operating in the region?

And whether there had been any indication of an increased threat from these groups?

Fifth, does he agree with me that this attack, alongside the events in Mali, are the latest indication of a still growing security threat in North Africa and the wider region?

Does he recognise that this demands intensified international collaboration, intelligence-sharing and diplomatic activity focused on this part of the world?

For now, all efforts must now be centred on resolving this ongoing crisis and ensuring the safety of our citizens.

For the families concerned, this is a dark and difficult time.

The whole House stands united in support of them.

And the thoughts of the whole country are with them.