Prime Minister's pledge over hostages

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Indy Politics

The Prime Minister today insisted the Government was doing "all that we can" to secure the release of three hostages following the deaths of two Britons in Iraq.

The bodies of Jason Creswell and Jason Swindlehurst, both security guards, were handed over to the Iraqi authorities at the weekend.

Party leaders today joined Gordon Brown during Prime Minister's questions to offer condolences to their families and friends.

Mr Brown said: "The taking of hostages is a cruel and barbaric act and can never be justified.

"I can assure the House that the Government are doing all that we can and our thoughts and the thoughts of all people in this House will be with the families and friends of those who wait for news."

Tory leader David Cameron offered his "heartfelt sympathy", adding: "The Prime Minister knows he has our full support with all the efforts being made to free the remaining hostages in Iraq."

And Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "I, of course, join in the expressions of sympathy and condolence to the family and friends of Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell and we all hope that the remaining hostages will be released safely as soon as possible."

The two men were among a group of five Britons, including IT consultant Peter Moore from Lincoln and two other guards identified only as Alan from Scotland and Alec from South Wales, kidnapped in Baghdad in May 2007.

There had been fresh hope in recent weeks that the men could be freed shortly after the release of a senior Iraqi insurgent at the start of this month.

But then the remains of Mr Creswell, originally from Glasgow, and Mr Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, were handed over to authorities in Baghdad late on Friday.

The five contractors were seized on May 29 2007 by about 40 armed men wearing police uniforms at the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad.