A tragic day in Westminster

It was an ordinary Wednesday at Westminster. Then, suddenly, everything changed. The Houses of Parliament were surrounded by police, fire and ambulance personnel and sirens were blaring. There was an air of disbelief as the truth dawned. This latest terrorist attack was aimed at the heart of our democracy, and tragically ordinary people and a policeman died in the few minutes it took to wreak havoc. But these cowardly attacks, using a vehicle to crash into innocent people, will not succeed. It will not weaken our resolve, it will strengthen it. It will unite us in our determination to defeat these angry, violent and evil terrorists.

I want to express my gratitude to all those admirable men and women who rushed to the aid of the people in and around Westminster. The selfless actions of those who work in our emergency services should never ever be taken for granted. They put themselves in harm’s way to save us. The heroic actions of PC Keith Palmer will not be forgotten. We all send his family, and all the families who have been affected by these terrible events, our deepest condolences.

We must never let any evil action come between us and our values and we must never underestimate the important work of those whose job it is to protect us. We wish the injured, who are still in hospital a swift recovery. Our thanks go to the medical staff who are caring for them and, as I go about my job in Parliament, I will be thinking of the relatives and friends of those who were injured or taken from their loved ones.

Whatever the motivation was for this evil act, it was certainly not religion. The actions of terrorists was indiscriminate, inflicting injury without distinction between race or creed. The warped minds who lead these extremist organisations are hell- bent on one thing only, the pursuit of absolute power and the ability to dictate to others how they should live their lives. As the Prime Minister said this morning in her statement, ‘Those values – free speech, liberty, human rights and the rule of law – are embodied here and they are shared by free people around the world. This was an attack on free people everywhere’.