Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson stood side by side this morning in solidarity at a vigil for the London Bridge terror attack victims.
The Prime Minister and opposition leader were joined by London lord mayor William Russell, mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick at Guildhall Yard for the service.
Those present held a minute’s silence at 11am for Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, who were killed in last Friday’s attack.
The pair were University of Cambridge graduates and worked together on the institution’s Learning Together Programme – a course to link ex-offenders with education services – the former as a coordinator, the latter as a volunteer.
Merritt and Jones were attending a conference at Fishmongers’ Hall for the programme when Usman Khan, 28, began his attack.
He was killed by police shortly after.
Russell paid tribute to the victims at the vigil this morning.
“We have lost two brilliant young people,” he said.
“Intelligent, talented, kind young people who chose to give their time and energy to helping others, and to making this world a more loving and forgiving place.
“Saskia and Jack will be missed enormously – and, on behalf of the City of London, I send our condolences to their families and friends.”
Sadiq Khan also spoke at the event.
“The best way to defeat this hatred is not by turning on one another but it is by focusing on the values that bind us,” he said.
“So yes, we come together this morning in condolences but also in a spirit of defiance to say that London will never be cowed or intimidated by terrorism.
“And also to commit to honouring the memory of Saskia and Jack by dedicating our future to one, not defined by hatred but one defined by hope, by unity and by love.”
Fishmongers’ Hall chief executive Toby Williams gave this morning a stunning account of how bystanders stopped the terrorist attack, potentially saving others from being killed.
Williams told the BBC that the venue’s cleaner, known only as Lukasz, was the first to react by grabbing a long stick off the wall after hearing screams on the first floor.
Williams said others soon joined the defence against the attacker and finally pushed him out onto the street.
Lukasz, who is a Polish national, suffered five wounds to his left side during the fight, but kept fighting until the end.
“He allows others to escape, to move to adjacent rooms – at that point he’s got about a one-minute one-on-one straight combat,” Williams said.
“This guy, who we know now as Khan, he works his way up Lukasz’s pole, slashing with this knife and he takes five wounds to his left side and is going to lose some strength on that side.
“But he’s done what he needed to do in this instance, so two other guys who are a part of the charity, one’s got a fire extinguisher now and one’s got an animal tusk ripped off the wall.
“They come and join the fight and it’s pretty gruesome.”