The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has made a statement to the House of Commons regarding yesterday’s attacks. Here are the key extracts:
“Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy. But today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.
And we meet here in the oldest of all parliaments because we know democracy and the values it entails will always prevail. Those values free speech, liberty, human rights and rule of law are embodied here in this place and shared by free people around the world.
A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities and culture gather to celebrate what it means to be free. He took out his rage indiscriminately on men, women and children. This was an attack on free people everywhere and on behalf of the British people I would like to thank our friends and allies around the world who have made it clear they stand with us.
What happened on the streets of Westminster sickened us all. While there is an ongoing police investigation, the House will understand there are limits to what I can say but having been updated by police and security officials let me set out what at this stage I can tell the House.
At approximately 2.40pm yesterday a single attacker drove his vehicle at speed into innocent pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring around 40 more. In addition to 12 Britons admitted to hospital, we know the victims include three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greeks. We are in close contacts with the governments of the countries of all those affected.
The injured also included three police officers returning from an event to recognise their bravery … Two of those three remain in a serious condition. The attacker then left the vehicle and approached a police officer at Carriage Gates, attacking that officer with a large knife before he was shot dead by an armed police officer. Tragically 48 year old PC Keith Palmer was killed…
He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.
I can confirm police have searched six addresses and made eight arrests in Birmingham and London. It is still believed this attacker acted alone and police have no reason to believe there are imminent further attacks on the public. His identity is known to the police and MI5.
When operational considerations allow he will be publicly identified.
What I can confirm is the man was British born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He is not part of the current intelligence picture.
There was no prior intelligence of his intent or the plot. Intensive investigations continue…
Our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology. We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real. But while the public should remain utterly vigilant they should not and will not be cowed by this threat.
We are stepping up policing to reassure the public and as a precautionary measure it will mean increasing patrols in cities across the country, with more police and more armed police on the scene.”