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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 July, 2005, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Blair pays tribute to resilience
Tony Blair speaking in Gleneagles
Mr Blair praised Londoners for their reaction to the bombings
Prime Minister Tony Blair has paid tribute to the "great resilience" of the British people in the wake of the London bombings.

He told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme Londoners' response had been "extraordinary" and that they would not be "terrorised by terror".

He said the government would act with caution and not bring in strict new laws to boost security.

"The British have a very great inner resilience," he said.

I think that we will continue with our way of life, I genuinely believe that
Prime Minister Tony Blair

"Several of the leaders at the (G8) summit commented to me how remarkable the British people are that they are simply not going to be terrorised by terror in this way," Mr Blair said.

"I think that we will continue with our way of life, I genuinely believe that.

"Even as we mourn the lives of those people killed so brutally and unnecessarily the sense, I think, and I hope, within the country, is to pull together and to make sure people can't divide us."

Security measures alone cannot protect the UK from attack and the underlying causes of terrorism must be "pulled up by the roots", Mr Blair said.

"All the surveillance in the world" cannot stop people going on a bus to blow up innocent people.

He said the "dreadful perversion of the true faith of Islam" must be tackled.

And he argued the "worst terrorist atrocity" - the 11 September attacks - came before the Iraq war.

Liberal society

The prime minister returned to Downing Street from the G8 summit on Friday evening to chair a meeting of Cobra, the government's emergencies committee.

In the interview, broadcast at 0810 BST on Saturday, he said it was inevitable terrorists would try to attack the UK.

"It's just tragic that they have succeeded," he says.

Probably with this type of terrorism the solution cannot only be the security measures
Tony Blair

He praised the resilience of Londoners who pulled together as they mourned those killed in Thursday's blasts.

Mr Blair said the terrorists would have won if the UK became an illiberal society.

Instead, it was proud of being open, liberal, multi-racial and multi-religious, with strong restrictions on government powers.


The prime minister said debate will continue on measures such as identity cards to help counter illegal immigration and crime.

But he argues: "Probably with this type of terrorism the solution cannot only be the security measures. I have never really doubted that myself."

Ultimately, the government had to protect people but "the underlying issues have to be dealt with too in terms of trying to get rid of this dreadful perversion of the true faith of Islam."

That meant people within the Muslim community standing up and saying they abhorred violence which was "wholly inconsistent" with their faith, he said.

He welcomes the fact that such efforts are already taking place.

Iraq questions

Mr Blair says there also has to be a drive to create a fairer and more just world and to foster peace in the Middle East.

Respect MP George Galloway has said Londoners have "paid the price" of the government failing to heed warnings that military action in Iraq and Afghanistan would increase risks of an attack on the UK.

But Mr Blair said the bombers in Madrid had been planning further attacks before they were caught even after the government had changed.

And the 11 September attacks in America had been the reason for the war in Afghanistan.

After the high of winning the Olympics and the tragedy of the blasts, Mr Blair says he has gone through an "extraordinary gamut of emotions".

He says there is nothing more awful than seeing death and destruction - not just because he is a national leader but because of thoughts for grieving families.


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