We offer our solidarity with the people of Belgium

Today as last year in Paris, the values we hold dear are under attack. Tolerance, equality, democracy. People in this country will argue vociferously over the next two months about whether we should or should not belong to the European Union. We won’t fight each other on the streets, the rival factions will not bomb each other or try to have the views of their opponents censored. And when it comes to the crunch we will vote, we will decide our fate at the ballot box.

Whatever side of the European argument you stand on – these are values we share. It doesn’t mean that we have to make a common enterprise with our fellow Europeans, that we shall argue about.

But inescapably the values under attack today have been nurtured in Britain and right across Europe. They are values that are uniquely ours. From Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and on to our Parliament and constitutional history. From Demosthenes to John Pym. From Rousseau to Adam Smith.

These are the values that bind us together as a group of peoples. They are what make us a common target for those who do not hold true to those values.

To the victims in Belgium we offer our sympathy.

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