Sussex MPs caught up in Westminster lockdown after '˜terrorist attack'

Sussex MPs have been caught up in a lockdown of Westminster following a suspected terrorist attack.

National reports suggest a police officer has been stabbed in the Houses of Parliament, while one woman has died and several others injured on Westminster Bridge.

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said she was seconds away from the incident, although she is now safe with other MPs.

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She said: “I missed it by seconds, it’s crazy. I heard it all, I was right there. I saw security running towards us.

“I heard the gunshots. I was 20 feet away. There was a mad rush of people, security trying to get us away into the building.

“I was one of the last to be brought into the building.

“I’m feeling fortunate. It puts everything into perspective.

“I have had a flurry of people calling to check if I’m okay, which I’m really grateful for.

“It’s a reminder of the threat we face. And of the amazing work of our security and emergency services here in Parliament.”

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Locked in Commons with fellow MPs. Thoughts with innocent people hurt today and thanks as ever to police & other staff working so hard here.”

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield explained that they were in lockdown in the Commons chamber, and that MPs had been told a police officer had been attacked by someone trying to enter Westminster. She said: “Thinking of all victims in Westminster today and our heroic police officers who keep us safe and put their lives on the line.”

Both Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Sir Peter Bottomley, Worthing West MP, are also safe in the Commons chamber.

Mr Loughton said: “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.”

Peter Kyle, Hove’s MP, was on his way to vote in the Commons when they attack happened, but has returned safely to his office.

He said he was thinking of everyone who has been hurt and their families.

He added: “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 harms 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.”

Horsham MP Jeremy Quin said: “My staff and I are working in the Commons and have not been involved in the incident.

“Our thoughts are with those who have been injured and with the police, other emergency services and Parliamentary authorities all of whom are acting with their usual courage and professionalism.”

Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP, added: “Chamber in lockdown our most profound admiration and gratitude to the Police and Security staffs and thoughts and prayers for the wounded.”

Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, tweeted: “Horrifying attack at Westminster. I’m in Berlin & my staff are safe. Thoughts with those injured & thanks to police & those who protect us.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police are asking people to avoid the following areas: Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.

“This is to allow the emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident.

“Police were called at approximately 14:40 hours to reports of an incident in Westminster Bridge, SW1. It is being treated as a firearms incident.

“Officers - including firearms officers - remain on the scene and we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.

“We thank the public for their assistance.”

Warren Morgan, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, added: “Thoughts with all who work in our Parliament, and security and emergency services dealing with this serious incident.”

Daniel Yates, Brighton councillor and chair of the city’s health and wellbeing board, added: “Just arrived back in Brighton from Westminster meeting. Was so peaceful earlier. Dreadful news now.”

Jason Kitcat, former Green leader of the city council, tweeted: “Grim, stoic mood here in #westminster - thoughts are with all those hurt in the incident. Best to avoid the area as Police have huge cordon.”

Duncan Crow, leader of the Conservative group at Crawley Borough Council, tweeted: “Terrible events in London this afternoon. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all those affected.”

David Elkin, deputy leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “Our thoughts are with all those that have suffered today no matter where in the world. When the going gets tough Brits get tougher.”

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Thoughts and heartfelt sympathies go to all those affected by yesterday’s terrible events.”

More to follow.