SOUTH Yorkshire’s high profile politicians have united to condemned the “horrifying murder” of an off-duty soldier - hacked to death in a suspected terrorist attack.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report - including footage of one of the alleged attackers.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Sheffield Hallam MP, described the killing as a “shocking and horrifying murder” on the streets of London.
He said: “The whole nation’s thoughts will be with the family and friends of the victim this evening.
“People across our country, whatever background they are from, will be united in condemning this attack and we will stand together, as we always do, in our response.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband, the Doncaster North MP, has cut short a visit to Germany to return to the UK. He said: “This is a truly appalling murder which will shock the entire country.
“All of my thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.
“The British people will be horrified by what has happened in Woolwich. They will be united in believing that this terror on our streets cannot be allowed to stand.
“The Labour Party will offer the Government our complete support in establishing the facts of what happened and ensuring that those responsible face the full force of British justice.”
Britain will “never buckle” in the face of terrorist incidents, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed, as he condemned the “absolutely sickening” killing in London.
“Our thoughts should be with the victim, with their family, with their friends,” the Prime Minister said.
“People across Britain, people in every community, I believe, will utterly condemn this attack.
“We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country and we never buckle in the face of them.”
Mr Cameron was speaking at a Paris press conference with French president Francois Hollande but confirmed he would cut short the visit to return to the UK tonight to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in the morning.
“I have been briefed by the Home Secretary about this absolutely sickening attack.
“It is the most appalling crime. We are obviously seeking, and the police are urgently seeking the full facts about this case, but there are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident.”
Mr Cameron said: “We will look at every aspect of security, we will look at every aspect of what you can learn from these incidents.
“But we also have to remember that in a free country like ours, the best way to defeat terrorism is to make sure that you continue to go about your life, to live your life and show that terrorists can never win, and that’s important.”
President Hollande said he wanted to “express all of my solidarity to David Cameron and the United Kingdom after the murder of the British solider in London earlier today.
“We must fight terrorism everywhere. It requires that we share our intelligence, that our intelligence services work together and that we act everywhere we can.”
He specifically highlighted the support given by the UK to France’s military intervention in Mali.
Asked about Mr Hollande’s comments, Mr Cameron declined to confirm that the victim was a serving soldier.
London and Paris were proud to “stand together in the fight against extremism, against violence and against terrorism”, he said.
Home Secretary Theresa May said that “there is a strong indication that it was an act of terrorism”, describing it as “an attack on everyone in the United Kingdom”.
In a statement she said: “What happened today in Woolwich was a sickening and barbaric attack.
“I have been briefed by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Director General of the Security Service, and this evening I chaired a meeting of COBR.
“The police and Security Service are establishing the full facts of this barbaric case, but there is a strong indication that it was an act of terrorism.
“The Prime Minister is returning to London and will chair another COBR meeting in the morning.
“In the meantime, security has been increased at Army barracks across London.”
The Home Secretary added: “This attack was an attack on everyone in the United Kingdom, and it will be condemned by people from every community.
“Our thoughts and prayers tonight are with the victim and his family.
“We have seen terrorism on the streets of Britain before, and have always stood firm against it. Despicable acts like these will not go unpunished.”