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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Duncan Smith Commons speech in full
Here is the text of Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith's speech to the House of Commons.

"Mr Speaker, we are grateful to the prime minister for his statement.


The initial shock might have subsided. Yet our outrage remains. Our anger is constant. And our determination to bring the terrorists to justice is undiminished

Iain Duncan Smith
It is now just over three weeks since the terrible events of 11 September in New York and Washington.

The initial shock might have subsided. Yet our outrage remains. Our anger is constant. And our determination to bring the terrorists to justice is undiminished.

The prime minister said he will put before the House some of the intelligence showing that Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September; that they have the will and resources to carry out further atrocities; that the United Kingdom and United Kingdom citizens are targets; and that Bin Laden and al-Qaeda were able to commit these atrocities because of their close relationship with the Taleban regime.

There are, of course, good reasons why it will not be possible to release all the intelligence that he has. To do so would put lives at stake.

The prime minister has shared with me more than he is able to present here today and, on that basis, I am convinced that Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taleban are guilty as charged.

Any war against these people is a just war.

Prayers and support

We must stand ready to fight for our democracy and for civilised values everywhere.

Our prayers and our support go out to our armed forces and their families for what they may be called upon to do in the days that follow.

11 September showed that terrorists accept no limits.

Rogue states harbour and nurture the terrorists to use them as instruments of their twisted purpose. In so doing they place themselves outside the family of civilised nations.

To defeat terrorism requires action on all fronts. We need to strike at the terrorists themselves. We need to neuter the threat from the rogue states.

Diverse coalition

And we need to tackle the links between terrorism and the organised crime that helps to finance and sustain it.

I agree that the immense task ahead requires unprecedented levels of international co-operation.

The prime minister is to be congratulated on his efforts, in conjunction with those of President Bush, in building a coalition of diverse nation states.

It is the clear responsibility of every civilised country to do whatever it can to stamp out this evil that threatens us all.

Some people, having seen this coalition built, might worry about the effect that military action could have on its survival.

Would the prime minister agree with me that this coalition has been assembled for a purpose? That purpose is to eradicate the threat of terrorism and the apparatus of terror as well as to bring those responsible for the events of 11 September to account.

It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Iraqi role?

Will he therefore consider carefully the role that Iraq has played in the past and threat it continues to pose as a sponsor of international terrorism?

Some have genuine and understandable anxieties that British involvement is more likely to make Britain a direct terrorist target.

Surely our response to that is to remind them of the hundreds of Britons who died in the World Trade Center.

Britain is already a target, has already been attacked and could be attacked in the future.

We recognise too that any action against Afghanistan will almost certainly increase the exodus to the refugee camps in surrounding countries.

Millions of Afghans have already been driven to them by a combination of drought and the collapse of existing aid programmes.

Extremists warning

Will the prime minister, therefore, undertake to consider three courses of action: no one country should have to bear the burden of the refugee crisis disproportionately; we should make every effort to ensure that the camps meet basic standards; and looking ahead we are able to help millions of refugees return to an Afghanistan that can sustain them.

The prime minister has rightly emphasised that this is not a war against Islam.

It is a war against terrorism - all terrorism. This has been recognised in Muslim countries and among the vast majority of Muslims here in the United Kingdom.

Yet there remains a small number of totally unrepresentative groups and individuals in Britain who are abusing the freedoms we enjoy in order to voice support for, to raise money for, and in some cases plan, acts of terrorism overseas.

When Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed can claim that the prime minister is a legitimate target for assassination if he visits a Muslim country and can make that statement from the safety of this country, we need to review our anti-terrorism laws as a matter of urgency.

The home secretary ought to be able to prevent individuals entering Britain, and to deport them, on grounds of national security without the threat of his decisions being overturned as a result of the Human Rights Act.

Northern Ireland

And the government must not let the Act stand in the way of the extradition to the US of individuals facing terrorism charges there.

Where the law is either defective or inadequate it needs to be remedied.

So can I repeat our offer to the government that we shall co-operate with them in any way possible so that there can be no question of Britain being a safe refuge for international terrorism?

The prime minister said in his speech to the Labour conference on Tuesday that the structures of terrorism should be attacked everywhere.

Does he agree that this means not just waging war in a distant land and that it applies as much in the United Kingdom as it does in places like Afghanistan and in Colombia?

A week ago I pointed out that terrorist groups - including the IRA, the UDA and the UVF - raise the vast majority of their finance through criminal activity such as intimidation, racketeering, smuggling and drugs.

What plans does the prime minister to wage a concerted war on the mafia subculture and criminality that has grown up alongside thirty years of terrorism in Northern Ireland, and ensure that the rule of law is upheld?

Decommissioning pressure

At the weekend the Sinn Fein president described terrorism as "ethically unacceptable".

Yet words alone are not enough. The people of Northern Ireland require deeds.

Surely, in the aftermath of 11 September people everywhere will fail understand why terrorists in Northern Ireland do not demonstrate once and for all that violence is in the past and that they are now unequivocally committed to peaceful and democratic politics.

Will the prime minister therefore use this opportunity to place maximum pressure on the IRA and loyalist terrorists at long last to decommission their weapons?

Does he agree that there could be no greater signal to those who practice the black arts of terrorism that the game is over?

Finally, Mr Speaker, we believe that the prime minister was right to recall Parliament today.

It is important, given the gravity of the situation and the likelihood of British involvement in future action, that we keep the situation under short-term review.

Yesterday the home secretary made a number of important announcements at the Labour Party conference regarding the domestic response to the terrorist threat.

Surely, given the importance of the home secretary's speech yesterday there is now a strong case for the House to be recalled again on Thursday and Friday next week so that they can be debated?

Mr Speaker, this is not about revenge.

It is not about retribution. It is not only about justice against one man.

It is standing up for what is right against what is wrong. It is about upholding civilised values against anarchy.

It is about defending good against the evil of terrorism.

So today we should reaffirm our single and collective purpose: No excuses should be made, no justification sought, and no help offered to those who would carry out such evil deeds.

Let right be done."

See also:

04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair puts case against Bin Laden
04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair statement in full
04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Kennedy speech in full
03 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Asylum and hate law to be overhauled
25 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Parliament to be recalled
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