Boris Johnson says 9/11 failed to undermine freedom and democracy

The 9/11 terrorists failed to undermine the faith of “free peoples” around the world in open societies, Boris Johnson has said.

In a defiant message to be played a memorial event at the Olympic Park in east London on Saturday, the prime minister said the threat of terrorism remained but people refused to live their lives in “permanent fear”.

“The fact that we are coming together today – in sorrow but also in faith and resolve – demonstrates the failure of terrorism and the strength of the bonds between us,” Johnson said.

A total of 2,977 people were killed in the atrocity, including 67 Britons.

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said the consequences of the attacks were “still being felt to this day”, adding the tragedy was “still so raw”.

He said: “But as we mark this anniversary I’m convinced our resolve has never been stronger. We will continue to fight terror and violence, by promoting our values of justice and peace.”

Johnson said recent events in Afghanistan had only strengthened people’s belief in freedom and democracy.

The Queen has marked the anniversary with a message to the US president.

It said: “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on September 11 2001, my thoughts and prayers – and those of my family and the entire nation – remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.

“My visit to the site of the World Trade Center in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honour those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”

Relatives who lost loved ones in the attacks will attend a special memorial service at the September 11 Memorial Garden in Grosvenor Square in London on Saturday.

The names of those who died will be read at the private service, which has been organised by the September 11 UK Families Support Group, and a minute’s silence will be held.