Stamford MP Nick Boles speaks of "heartbreaking news" of New Zealand terror attack at mosques that killed 49
Stamford MP Nick Boles has called on everyone to unite against terrorism.
His comments today follow the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, at two mosques where a gunman killed at least 49 people and wounded at least 20 others.
Mr Boles tweeted this morning: “Heartbreaking news from New Zealand. Thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families. People of all faiths and none must stand united against terrorism.”
The MP also retweeted comments from other leading politicians, including Prime Minister Theresa May, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Prime Minister said: “On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence.”
Mr Javid said: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear about this attack on peaceful worshippers. We stand with New Zealand and Muslims across the world against all forms of anti-racism and anti-muslim hatred. We will not let extremists divide us.”
Mr Hunt said: “Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch. NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world. Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the atrocity as one of New Zealand's "darkest days".
She said: "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, in central Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island.
Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building.
A second mosque in the Christchurch suburb of Linwood was evacuated, but there are fewer details of incidents here.
Police also defused "a number of IEDs (explosive devices) attached to vehicles", Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
Mr Bush confirmed that the suspect who has been charged was not known in advance to security services in either New Zealand or Australia.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison described an alleged gunman, who had Australian citizenship, as an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist.
Police confirmed a man in his late twenties was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning.
Two other men and one woman were detained nearby and firearms seized, NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
He said police had determined that one of the people detained was not involved in the incident, and officers were working to understand if the other two were connected.
New Zealand has around 50,000 muslims, about one per cent of the country’s population of 4.8million.