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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Claire Rayner film dropped by Lib Dems
The disaster site in New York
The atrocities have again dominated conference debate
Defeat of terrorism, not revenge must drive any military response to the US terror attacks, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy will stress in a hastily filmed party political broadcast.

Keeping his cautious tone about the crisis, Mr Kennedy says it is not a case of waging a "war" against the people of any country or faith but of trying to remove a group of "evil international terrorists".


The point of all of this is the defeat of terrorism; it's not about revenge

Charles Kennedy
The original broadcast, earmarked to cover care for the elderly, had featured the well-known agony aunt Claire Rayner.

The replacement film was shot in his hotel room on Wednesday as the international crisis continued to dominate debate at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth.

The Lib Dem leader is again to emphasise that his party will give the government no "blank cheques" of support and says there must be room for debate.

He will say: "There may well have to be a military response. But that response should be based on international law and clear intelligence.

"The point of all of this is the defeat of terrorism; it's not about revenge."

During Wednesday's conference debates, party president Lord Dholakia warned political leaders to take a "measured response" to the US terror attacks to avoid inflaming race relations.

He told delegates the perpetrators of the attacks must be brought to justice but the underlying causes of the outrage must also be tackled.

He continued: "The civilised world has an added responsibility at a time when revenge sees no difference between the perpetrators abroad and the law abiding minorities settled here...

Charles Kennedy will appear in a party political broadcast on Wednesday
Kennedy hastily filmed the broadcast at his hotel
"The coming days will test our resolve to defeat terrorism.

"It will require leadership at every level to ensure that the law abiding, visible minorities are not made the scapegoats simply because the enemy is invisible."

The domestic implications of the US attacks were underlined by home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes in a wide-ranging conference speech.

As well as attacking the government and the Conservatives' asylum policy, he said his party backed new moves to crack down on money laundering, but also stressed the need for liberties in the wake of the terrorist outrages.

Liberties call

"Liberal Democrats are willing to consider any changes which would reduce the danger from terrorists and protect our citizens," said Mr Hughes, who has signalled that his party is "not persuaded" that identity cards should be introduced.

"But the burden is on those who propose taking away freedom to justify their case."

Meanwhile, foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell suggested defence spending might need to rise to meet the increased commitments of UK troops generally and he stepped up Lib Dem pressure for an international criminal court to be set up in the wake of the terror attacks.

"No nation, however powerful, can guarantee to defend its own citizens or to seek redress on their behalf unless it acts in concert with those of like minds," he said.

Defence spending rise

"This will require an enhanced role for the United Nations, an effective International Criminal Court and strengthened regional co-operation.

"If Britain is serious about participation in operations on behalf of the UN, the EU or Nato, then the existing level of defence spending may well prove inadequate."

Away from the spectre of the American attacks, a high profile debate is expected over a contentious motion introducing the use of positive discrimination in favour of women when Lib Dem parliamentary candidates are selected.

Wednesday's conference programme also included debates on the environment and the "looming care crisis" for the elderly as well as on the keystone Lib Dem issue of the environment.

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