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Carmichael: UK stands in solidarity with Glasgow

THE people of Britain stand in solidarity with Glasgow, MPs were told, as Westminster paid tribute to the courage and selflessness of the local community, as well as the professionalism of the emergency services faced with the tragic events of the helicopter crash.

ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL: Visits book of condolence in Glasgow.
ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL: Visits book of condolence in Glasgow.

As emotion ran through many of the contributions in the Commons, there was a call for the Clutha bar to be rebuilt in tribute to a great city and its people. "Glasgow needs a Clutha," declared one of its regulars, Labour's Jim Sheridan.

Tributes to the bravery of the police, fire and ambulance crews were led by Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, who described the terrible circumstances of last Friday night.

Flanked by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, Danny Alexander, the Treasury Chief Secretary, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, he praised the "outstanding work" of the emergency services for the speed, professionalism and courage of their response.

The Secretary of State also paid tribute to the courage and selflessness of ordinary Scots. Among them was one of Westminster's own, Jim Murphy, the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire, who, with others, helped the injured.

Mr Carmichael said the Shadow International Development Secretary - absent due to a visit to the hurricane-hit Philippines - was "characteristically understated in describing his role but I'm sure speak for the whole House when I say his response, which was instinctive, did him credit".

The Scottish Secretary revealed how Prime Minister David Cameron had spoken to First Minister Alex Salmond and had offered any help needed from the UK Government or emergency services south of the Border. He also stressed an interim accident report would be published as early as possible.

Mr Carmichael added: "I wear a badge today given to me by Councillor Matheson (leader of Glasgow City Council); it reads quite simply 'People make Glasgow'. The response of the people who make Glasgow has demonstrated all the courage and character that has made that city famous throughout the world.

"We in this House and the people we represent in communities throughout the United Kingdom stand in solidarity today with the people of Glasgow as they mourn their loss and start to come to terms with their grief. People make Glasgow - today I wear that badge with pride."

For Labour, Margaret Curran, said the events meant this had been a "dark weekend for Glasgow and our whole country" and that all of Scotland was united in grief.

She said the Commons joined together to send its sympathy to the bereaved and its best wishes to the injured. The work of the emergency services had been "exemplary" and gratitude was given to the hospital staff, who had cared for the injured.

The Shadow Scottish Secretary said the circumstances of the tragedy needed to be known and understood to ensure such an event did not happen again.

Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, noted: "The sentiments and the sense of the popular song through the generations - I belong to Glasgow - had a particularly poignant ring to them in the hearts of every Scot right around the world over the course of this very sad St Andrews weekend." He also praised the media for its "great responsibility and sensitivity" to those involved in the tragedy.

Labour's Anas Sarwar, the local MP, described the actions of people as the "perfect illustration of human kindness and human decency" and he was thankful for all the messages of support from across the UK, saying Britons made clear "this weekend we were all Glaswegians".

Pete Wishart for the SNP also paid tribute to the "magnificent" work of the emergency services, adding: "The response of the people of Glasgow to this tragedy has been nothing short of tremendous; people rushing to the scene of the accident and not running away."

Meantime, Commons Speaker John Bercowhas arranged for a book of condolence to be placed in the House of Commons Library for MPs, members of staff and others to sign.

He said:"It is right the House of Commons marks this tragedy, pays respect to the victims and offers support to the great city of Glasgow at this sad time."

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