Nicola Sturgeon condemns ‘twisted’ Manchester terror attack
Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the “cowardly and twisted” terror attack in Manchester last night which left 22 people killed and dozens more injured.
The First Minister led tributes from across Holyrood this afternoon following the devastating incident in which an eight-year-old girl was among the children and young people to have lost their lives at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said: "There can be nothing more cowardly than attacking children enjoying a fun night out.
"As human beings, we cannot comprehend the twisted motivations that lead people to carry out such atrocities, particularly when they target children and young people in such a callous way.
"Our best response now - and always - is to stand firm, with determination and in solidarity, to make clear to those who seek to undermine our values, target our children and destroy our way of life that they will not succeed. Not now and not ever."
Ms Sturgeon added that the issue of tackling a potential rise in hate crime had been discussed at the Scottish Government’s resilience committee meeting this morning, when pressed on the issue by Greens’ leader Patrick Harvie.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson praised the work of emergency services, while attacking the “evil” of the perpetrators.
“Let us all in this Parliament extend our solidarity with the people of Manchester,” she said.
“Who, like the people of Paris, of London, of Brussels, of Nice have responded with courage and decency in the face of cowardice and evil.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale highlighted the challenge that will be faced by parents in explaining the horrific attack to their children.
“How can you tell an eight-year-old that there is a justifiable reason that children died last night?” she said.
“How can you explain the actions, the thought-process, of someone who can look at a concert full of young people and see nothing but a target?
“But what we can do is respond well. We can teach our children that the only way to counter such barbarity is not with hate and with fear, but with compassion, tolerance, kindness and love.”
Both the First Minister and the parliament’s Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh confirmed that they had written to Manchester Regional Andy Burnham to express their condolences.
Mr Macintosh said there was a “tangible sense of shock and sorrow” in the parliament, inviting MSPs to sign a book of condolence.
Earlier today Ms Sturgeon confirmed Police Scotland are supporting the families of two young girls from the Isle of Barra – Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh MacLeod – who attended the concert.