Morecambe and Lancaster MPs speak after London terror attack
Local MPs have spoken of their sadness in the wake of yesterday's London terror attack.
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said a crime scene investigation ongoing at the House of Commons this morning with forensics still examining the ground “brought it home.”
He said: “I can’t tell you how sad we are, there has been a lot of tributes paid in the chamber today.”
Mr Morris was responding following yesterday’s Westminister attack which left four people dead.
MPs held a minute’s silence in the Commons before Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement.
Theresa May paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death in the attack, saying he “was every inch a hero.”
Mr Morris said: “The policemen that work here, we know them, we see them every day, we don’t see them as policemen guarding us, we seem them as colleagues.
“It brings home just how lucky you are to have them.”
Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with PC Keith Palmer, his family and his friends and his colleagues here on the Parliamentary estate who are grieving right now, and those of the other victims.”
A woman in her 40s, a man in his 50s, PC Keith Palmer and the attacker are among the dead with dozens left injured, police said.
In the attack on Wednesday (March 22), a man drove a car along Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians, leaving dozens injured. The attacker then stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament.
The House of Commons was in “lockdown” as the attack happened and many MPs, including David Morris and Cat Smith, were held inside for their own safety.
Mr Morris first heard about the attack from colleague Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East, who said there had been a shooting.
“Nobody knew what was going on,” said Mr Morris.
“I headed back to my office, I walked around the corridor and there was an armed police officer who immediately ordered me to get back.
“I could hear shouting, a lot of shouting going on, very loud voices coming from downstairs from the terraced area. The police officer had a gun, he was protecting the doorway.”
Mr Morris was placed in the committee lobby which was “full of people” and was then ordered to go back into the central area by Anti Terrorist Units.
Despite the presence of armed courts throughout the building Mr Morris said “there was no panic.”
“Everything was under control, nobody felt frightened, it was pretty well handled.”
Concern mounted when children were evacuated, said Mr Morris.
“Well that made everyone a little concerned but again nobody was frightened, there was no hysteria.”
After the evacuation Mr Morris went into the chamber and was kept in there with other MPs for more than four hours until given the all-clear.
He said doorkeepers did a “sterling job” making sure everyone inside got food and water.
“It has to be said, despite the sad passing of an officer, the system did work, we had a breach and it is very sad one of our own has died, I can’t put that into words of anything less of a tragedy than it is.”
Cat Smith said yesterday’s “appalling terror attack will not stop the workings of democracy.”
She said: “Yesterday’s attack was an attack on our democracy, but our democracy goes on.
“We mustn’t let these terrorists stand in the way of our democratic British values.”
Tim Farron, MP for South Lakes, was nearby when the attack happened.
He was heading from his office towards Parliament when police pushed everyone back as the car drove through the gates.
Mr Farron said: “These were horrific and deeply tragic events and my thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives today and the many more who are injured.
“The bravery and professionalism of the police and emergency services has been truly humbling.”
Mr Farron said the bravery of people when the attacks happened was “awe-inspiring” as many ran towards the danger in order to help.
“Our response to this must be more democracy, more openness, and more humanity. We will answer hatred with love,” added Mr Farron.
“At times like this, we must remember who we are. Britain is an open, tolerant country and we will never let those who spread terror and threaten our values win.”