London came to a standstill yesterday when an armed assailant drove his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fleeing his vehicle and attacking with knives.
At least 20 people were injured and five lost their lives, including a police officer. The assailant was shot and killed by armed police.
During the attack, Westminster was on lockdown for more than four hours. MPs including Caroline Lucas were shut in to the parliament buildings for their own safety. At the time, Tim Loughton, the MP for East Worthing and the Shoreham, tweeted: “Relieved to report that my staff are all safe at Westminster while we remain locked in the Chamber, but our thoughts are with the victims.”
Less than 24 hours later, Sussex is coming together in sympathy over the dreadful events, which are being treated as acts of terror.
Flags at all Brighton and Hove City Council buildings are being flown at half-mast as a sign of respect and mourning.
Leader of the city council, Cllr Warren Morgan, said: “The loss of lives is truly tragic and the impact of what has happened is incomprehensible. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone affected.”
The flag at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes is being flown at half-mast in tribute to 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer. The husband and father lost his life in yesterday’s attack after the armed assailant stabbed him. He had served 15 years with the Metropolitan Police, having previously been an armed forces member.
Deputy Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly said online: “Somber and reflective mood at Sussex Police. RIP PC Keith Palmer. We will never be frightened or intimidated by cowards. Never.”
Sussex Police held a minute’s silence at 9:30 am today.
Amber Rudd, Home Secretary and MP for Hastings and Rye, thanked the emergency services and police for their professionalism and courage. She said: “The British people will be united in working together to defeat those who would harm our shared values. Values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. Values symbolised by the Houses of Parliament. Values that will never be destroyed.”
Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Portslade and Hove, said: “Ever since I became an MP I’ve always been very aware of the women and men in front of the building I work in, putting themselves in harm’s way to keep people like me safe.
“It makes me feel incredibly humble and words cannot describe my gratitude.
“My job right now is to sit quietly in my office and allow these brave officers to do their job.
“Sitting as I am right now so close to where terror is unfolding, my heart is aching for those outside who are suffering.”
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and co-leader of the Green Party, said: “Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the attacks and we send deep thanks to the public servants who responded so quickly, bravely, and with care to treat the injured and minimise the number of casualties.
“We pay tribute to the lives that were so sadly lost and in particular to the police officer who died in the line of duty – we are truly in his debt.
“The response to such a heinous attack must be to strengthen our democracy, and refuse to give in to those who would harm it.”
West Worthing Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley described the attack as a tragedy for innocent bystanders, and said parliament would survive this onslaught as it has survived crises before it, such as the bombing of the chamber during WW2.