Home Secretary Priti Patel condemns US violence as 'shocking beyond words' on LBC

7 January 2021, 08:48 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 14:00

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Home Secretary Priti Patel has told LBC that last night's scenes in Washington D.C. were "shocking beyond words" and that Donald Trump's remarks "led to violence".

Speaking on Nick Ferrari at breakfast, the Cabinet minister told LBC the riots witnessed in the US capital were "a real tragedy".

On Wednesday, Trump supporters broke into and besieged the Capitol Building, occupying the Senate chamber and multiple offices - including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - and clashing with police officers.

The unruly mob damaged windows and doors as they moved through the iconic landmark, with D.C.'s National Guard being deployed to quell the disorder.

Asked about the violent scenes witnessed at the US Capitol, Ms Patel told Nick: "They're just shocking, absolutely shocking beyond words, quite frankly.

"There's no justification for the absolute violence that we have seen."

Read more: 'It's insurrection': Joe Biden blames Trump for Capitol riot

Live: Woman shot dead and three others die as Trump mob storms US Capitol

She said: "It's a real tragedy. America is a great ally of ours and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in good times and bad times, and we all look to America when it comes to those pivotal events like their presidential elections, but also that incredible period of that smooth transition.

With the president in power for roughly two more weeks, the home secretary was asked how secure the world is while he remains in charge.

"Donald Trump's words led to violence," Ms Patel replied.

"He did nothing to de-escalate that whole situation. He failed to condemn the violence and I think that's absolutely wrong. On top of that, people have died; the tragedy now that has been associated with this."

Asked whether the US Cabinet should remove him, Ms Patel said: "There are processes around the whole US system and it's right that they now just get on with those processes."

Read more: US Cabinet members 'discuss using 25th amendment to remove Trump'

Read more: Boris Johnson leads UK politicians in condemning 'disgraceful scenes'

Ms Patel is one of a number of UK politicians from all parties to condemn the scenes on Capitol Hill.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described them as "disgraceful" and added in a tweet: "The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Horrendous scenes from the US.

"These are not 'protesters' - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet today: "After the shocking events yesterday, it was good to see the resumption of US Congress and the certification of President Elect Biden’s victory.

"It sends an important message that the democratic will of the US people cannot be challenged or overturned by the actions of a violent minority. The UK condemns yesterday’s violence unequivocally."

Lisa Nandy, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, said last night: "Terrible scenes from the USA. This is the legacy of a politics of hate that pits people against each other and threatens the foundations of democracy.

"We must stand firm with legislators under attack and the American people who have the right to choose their own destiny."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the scenes from the Capitol were "utterly horrifying".

She added: "Solidarity with those in (the United States) on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy."

Former prime minister Theresa May wrote today: "After yesterday's disturbing scenes at the Capitol, I welcome that Congress has certified as the next President. The orderly transition of power is a hallmark of a mature democracy. There is no place for the rule of the mob."

Layla Moran, foreign affairs spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, added: "The scenes coming out of Washington tonight are an attack on democracy.... An attack on democracy anywhere is an attack on democracy everywhere."

President-elect Joe Biden branded the siege "insurrection" as he demanded Mr Trump "step up" to fulfil his role as US leader.

He called the violent protests in Washington D.C. "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business".

Mr Biden also said the uprising bordered on sedition, adding: "The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are."

The disturbing scenes in the capital began while a joint session of Congress was convening to certify the Democrat's election victory.

But outside, the president was addressing thousands of demonstrators who had gathered outside the Capitol, repeating his unfounded claims about voter fraud and a stolen election.

Thousands of his supporters then moved on to besiege the Capitol Building, breaching the Senate chamber, nearly breaching the House of Representatives, and occupying multiple offices - including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

As they moved through the building, they clashed with police officers and damaged windows and doors.

One woman was killed after being shot, while three others died in what are currently being labelled "medical emergencies".

The D.C. National Guard was deployed to suppress the riots and a curfew was put in place to disperse crowds.

President Trump later released a video message during which he denounced the protestors' attack in the capital.

However, during the recording he continued to peddle falsehoods about election fraud and told the rioters he "loved" them.