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‘Does this change everything?’ - Norfolk MPs speak of shock after suspected terrorist attack outside Houses of Parliament

PUBLISHED: 16:17 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:35 22 March 2017

An Air Ambulance outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard close to the Palace of Westminster. A man with a knife has been seen within the confines of the Palace, eyewitnesses said. Picture Victoria Jones/PA Wire

An Air Ambulance outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard close to the Palace of Westminster. A man with a knife has been seen within the confines of the Palace, eyewitnesses said. Picture Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A Norwich MP has described how he and other members of parliament were told about how a police officer had been stabbed before the alleged assailant was shot in Westminster.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Clive Lewis, Norwich South MP, said they were currently in “lockdown” following the incident which was announced by the deputy speaker.

He said: “All we’ve been told by the leader of the house is that a police officer has been stabbed at the main entrance where the vehicles come into parliament.

“At the same time the attacker has been shot by police and five people approximately have been mown down on Westminster Bridge. That’s all we know.”

He added: “The first thing I did was tell my staff to stay where they were and my family that I was okay.”

Conservative parliamentary candidate Keith Simpson. Picture: ARCHANT. Conservative parliamentary candidate Keith Simpson. Picture: ARCHANT.

Mr Lewis said his “thoughts” were with the family of the police officer and anyone else who has been hurt in the incident.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “It’s really horrible and distressing. I’m pretty shaken-up.

“I was in the corridor between Portcullis House and the main building. There were loads of people running about, saying to ‘Get out’. There was quite a bit of panic.”

The Liberal Democrat MP said: “It’s horrific that a woman has lost her life and other people have been badly injured.

“You think to yourself, ‘Does this change everything?’ There’s bound to be a lot of changes after this.”

He said he was at PMQ’s earlier today and had visited someone in South London about a mental health issue in the morning.

Broadland MP Keith Simpson said they were in the middle of voting when they became aware of an incident.

He said: “I’ve never experienced anything like this as an MP.

“I had just voted and sat down when a colleague, who had been looking at his mobile phone, said ‘there’s been an incident; there’s been shots fired outside parliament’.

“I said ‘you’re joking’ and at that point the deputy speaker said there had been an incident and he had suspended the suspended the sitting and we should all remain in the chamber.”

Mr Simpson, who was sitting next to Sir Desmond Swayne while they were in lockdown, said they then tried to find out what was happening on mobile phones, social media and on the news.

He added: “Everyone is quite calm here and we are being reassured by security personnel.

“Over the past two or three years the police and head of security have carried out exercises planned for this kind of thing.”

“This situation has been well rehearsed, from a security point of view, and now all we can do is sit tight and wait.”

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, added: “My thoughts are very much with the family and friends of all those affected by today’s incident in Westminster. Praise must be given to the emergency services for their swift response and for the incredible bravery shown by police officers.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who was taken into a basement office during the lockdown, said: “One’s thoughts are with the police officer and the others who lost their loves, as well as their families and those who have been injured. You really do feel for the police officers and what they do in protecting us. We need to review what we got right and what we got wrong, but it’s very very important we continue to send a message out that it’s business as normal, we carry on and we’re not going to be intimidated.”

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