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Like many of you, I am deeply saddened and distressed by the scenes last night and this morning in Paris.

In what seems to be a co-ordinated act of terrorism, multiple attackers have coldly and deliberately murdered at least 120 people who were simply going about their ordinary lives.

I choose my words carefully: it seems to be a co-ordinated act of terrorism but, for now, we cannot be sure who is behind this despicable and callous act. Many may feel they “know” who was behind it, but now is not the time for speculation or knee-jerk reprisals. Today the people of France are in mourning – and we mourn with them.

I am also, sadly, neither shocked nor surprised. The world we live in is inhabited by those who believe in freedom, inclusion and peace. It is also inhabited by those who oppose those very same ideals and will go to the most extraordinary lengths to eradicate them. The question should never be “will another attack happen” but “when and where will the next attack happen”. That is the question we employ our police and security services to answer, and we should be proud of the work they do in our name to try to avoid such inhuman acts of atrocity.

Last night Paris saw scenes of the most dreadful horror and, rather than pointing the finger of blame or trying to score political points, we should all instead be sending a single, unified and crystal clear message to the people of France:

We feel your pain, we mourn your loss and we pray for your comfort!

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