Our united response to cowardly terrorist acts is our strength

The scene near Westminster in London last Wednesday
Picture courtesy of SWNS
The scene near Westminster in London last Wednesday Picture courtesy of SWNS

Last week our nation's capital was attacked in the most cowardly and craven way imaginable.

Innocent members of the public were targeted as they crossed Westminster Bridge, a structure painted green to reflect the colour of the benches that lie in the democratic chamber alongside which it sits.

The attacker then sought to breach the defences of our Parliament. He failed, stopped before he could gain access, but not before he took the life of a policeman simply doing his duty – to protect the heart of our democracy. We must pay tribute to all those, professionals and passers-by alike, who came to the aid of people in need. The British spirit was shown to the world by people helping victims on the bridge.

Inside Parliament, staff were locked in their offices unsure whether another terrorist was onsite. I was hosting two sets of guests, local businesspeople being recognised at an awards ceremony, and an elderly couple from Wadhurst. Neither could have expected to be caught up in an incident like this when they came for tea with their MP. We handed out water, children sang songs and the mood was calm. We are a resilient nation and our united response to cowardly terrorist acts is our strength.

Later that evening, the thousands of people who work in the Palace of Westminster queued calmly to go home. PC Keith Palmer, and those who so tragically lost their lives on Westminster Bridge, were unable to do the same. But despite the shock and the horror, those thousands of people were queuing again the next morning, returning to Parliament to carry on the work of representation. Democracy in this country will not be paused.

The Prime Minister, speaking in the House of Commons, reflected the views of those in Parliament and beyond. It was a message that the people of the United Kingdom have heard, believed and stood by for centuries. It applies now just as much as ever. Simply, it is that “our values will prevail”.