BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: In Depth: Conferences 2001: Liberal Democrats
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

banner Monday, 24 September, 2001, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Call for 'justice not revenge'
Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy speaks to reporters as delegates gather in Bournemouth
Charles Kennedy: "Resolve" needed not "crusade"
Justice not revenge should drive any military response to the US terror attacks, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell has told his party's conference.

Speaking in an emergency debate on international terrorism in Bournemouth on Monday, Mr Campbell said he would support using UK troops in an armed response but that action had to be "precise and proportionate".

We have yet to fashion a mindset to find an approach which begins to address the roots of such evil

Charles Kennedy
With military strikes expected within days, the Lib Dems say they agree with Prime Minister Tony Blair's backing for America, but insist they will give no blank cheques of support.

Party leader Charles Kennedy is to use an emergency address later to take issue with the use of the term "war" by both Mr Blair and President Bush Tony Blair to describe the position in the wake of the US terror attacks.

War not the word

"War is not the word, nor is crusade. Resolve is," he will say.

"We have to fashion a mind-set to find an approach that begins to address the roots of such evil."

As he opened the emergency debate on the subject, Menzies Campbell said: "The purpose of any military response must be justice and not revenge.

"The early chorus of international condemnation will only be converted to a continuing coalition of support if the response is based on clear intelligence, is precise and proportionate to the need, and clear and consistent with the principles of international law."

Tony Blair visited four world capitals, including Washington, last week
Blair has spoken with Kennedy about the attack situation
He called the atrocities in America a "grievous crime against humanity" and said it meant the creation of an international criminal court was now a clear priority.

The conference held a two-minute silence at 1100 BST in memory of those who died in America and Lib Dem international development spokesman Jenny Tonge suggested future conferences should hold similar silences to remember all victims of genocide and terrorism around the world.

Winning hearts and minds

She argued humanitarian aid for people suffering from famine and drought in Afghanistan and elsewhere could be a key weapon in preventing terrorism.

"We must bomb this area, but we must bomb it with food and aid," she said, stressing the need to create safe havens too for the millions of refugees.

"It is cheaper than military action and may win over a lot more hearts and minds."

The debate also heard strong calls for the attacks not to be based on the Muslim community in the UK and elsewhere.

Identity cards

With the introduction of identity cards again on the political agenda after the attacks, that is an issue is likely to be raised as the conference continues.

On Sunday, Mr Kennedy said that new anti-terrorism measures should not be rushed through in the aftermath of the tragedy.

He said: "The one lesson of parliamentary British history is that rushed legislation with instinctive all-party agreement proves to be bad legislation and we don't want to see that happen, particularly with critical issues of civil liberties."

The conference agenda has been radically redrawn in the wake of the atrocities in the US.

Economic impact

The economic impact of the terrorist attacks is another high profile issue on Monday's conference agenda, which includes a speech from treasury spokesman Matthew Taylor.

He told journalists on Monday morning the atrocities "made it far more likely that we will go into a period of economic retreat".

Mr Taylor advocated concerted international action both to restore confidence and put some "liquidity" back into the world's markets.

The BBC's Robin Chrystal
"Charles Kennedy insists what is needed is resolve not the use of words like war"
See also:

23 Sep 01 | Liberal Democrats
Dilemma facing Kennedy
23 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blunkett warming to ID cards
23 Sep 01 | Liberal Democrats
Shadow over party conferences
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Liberal Democrats stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to more Liberal Democrats stories