Scottish Parliament offers condolences to Manchester
MSPs offer condolences and solidarity in the wake of 'cowardly attack' on young people in Manchester
Scottish Parliament flags at half mast - credit Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament has responded to the suicide bomb attack on a concert in Manchester last night.
MSPs observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the attack and for all those affected.
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said there was a “tangible sense of shock and sorrow” in the parliament, inviting MSPs to sign a book of condolence.
Both he and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said they had written to Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in sympathy.
In a statement to Holyrood, Sturgeon said: "There can be nothing more cowardly than attacking children enjoying a fun night out."
She continued: "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."
Sturgeon confirmed Police Scotland are supporting the families of two girls from Barra who are missing. Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh MacLeod attended the concert.
Police Scotland are also reviewing policing at all forthcoming public events including the Scottish Cup Final.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson praised the work of emergency services and others in responding to the attack.
“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 said children would be traumatised by the news.
“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.”
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie asked about readiness to counter possible hate crimes in the wake of attack, and Sturgeon said the issue had been raised at the Scottish Government’s resilience committee.
Twenty-two people, including an eight-year-old girl and a student, have been killed and 59 were injured in the attack. Earlier Prime Minister Theresa May said security services believe they know the attacker's identity but are not yet able to confirm it.
The Edinburgh Western MSP was being investigated over his election expenses
The First Minister will speak at a conference on inclusive growth in Glasgow today
The Scottish Government has committed to making Green MSP John Finnie’s member’s bill law
Sketch: Liam Kirkaldy tries to get to grips with events at the SNP conference in Glasgow