United Kingdom
Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 11, 2001

The full horror of what has happened in the United States earlier today is now becoming clearer. It is hard even to contemplate the utter carnage and terror which has engulfed so many innocent people. We’ve offered President Bush and the American people our solidarity, our profound sympathy, and our prayers. But it is plain that citizens of many countries round the world, including Britain, will have been caught up in this terror.

I have just chaired an emergency meeting of the British government Civil Contingencies Committee, and I would like to explain some of the measures that we have agreed to take here. There are a range of precautionary measures. We have stepped up security at airports to the highest levels. No flights will take off from the United Kingdom for which we cannot apply the highest standards of security for air crew and passengers. Private flights have been stopped except where specifically authorised. Flight paths into London have been changed, so there will be no civil over-flights of central London.

Security has been increased across the full range of government buildings and military premises. The police across the whole of the UK are on full alert. All our defence facilities round the world have been moved to high alert to ensure the protection of British service personnel. Advice is being given to major financial and business institutions about appropriate security measures. A number of other security measures have been taken, and of course we are in close touch with US, European and other allies, and are co-operating with them on issues of security. All relevant ministers remain in communication, and the committee - the civil contingencies committee - will meet again tomorrow at 8am.

Obviously some of these measures, not least the effect upon airports, will lead to some disruption, and I hope people understand that. But other than the specific measures we have taken, or that we have advised others to take, business and everyday life can continue as normal. As for those that carried out these attacks, there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity.

As I said earlier, this mass terrorism is the new evil in our world. The people who perpetrate it have no regard whatever for the sanctity or value of human life, and we the democracies of the world, must come together to defeat it and eradicate it. This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism, but between the free and democratic world and terrorism. We, therefore, here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy, and we, like them, will not rest until this evil is driven from our world.


Crown copyright material reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO.