As I left the division lobbies having voted, the Leader of the House announced that an incident had occurred outside. It was hard to discover what was happening so I returned to my office moments before the chamber was locked. On television I was able to follow the events unfolding while I could see the ambulance lights flashing on Westminster Bridge out of my office window.
The murder of two and the injury of about forty pedestrians on Westminster Bridge is an atrocity. This was compounded by the murder of PC Keith Palmer who was guarding the carriage gates at the Parliament Square entrance to the Palace of Westminster.
It is worth pointing out that thanks to the superb reactions of PC Palmer and the security forces this cowardly attack failed absolutely, with the murderer not even making it 20 metres inside the secure zone. Parliament sits as normal today, in defiance of this murderer’s attempt to attack our democracy.
The attacker who has not yet been identified was shot and later died. Overnight the Police have arrested eight people who may have been connected.
The courage, bravery and dedication of our emergency services should make us all feel proud that we have such people willing to stand in defence of democracy and freedom, and to run towards danger whilst encouraging others to get out of harm’s way.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all affected. There were more than ten nationalities hurt by the murderer and these people were just innocent tourists enjoying the sights of London. They too deserve to be safe and welcome in our country.
I felt throughout for the safety of my staff as well as the other workers caught up by this attack. We were kept locked in for most of the day and evening as it was hard to identify if there were more threats expected.
This was an attack on our democracy, our values and on our liberty.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave men and women of our emergency services who do so much to keep us all safe.
In the coming days, weeks and months, we will show that we are not cowed by attacks such as these, but rather continue to embrace the values of democracy that we all share and hold so dear.
Bill Wiggin MP