Parliament resumes with a minute’s silence

House of CommonsImage copyright

Parliament’s security committee will hold an emergency meeting later following Wednesday’s terror attack, Commons deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle has said.

Security arrangements on the estate will be discussed. A one minute’s silence has been observed in the Commons and in Whitehall.

Theresa May is expected to make a Commons statement about the incident.

MPs will also have a chance to pay tribute to the victims of the attack.

Speaking beside a police cordon outside Parliament, Mr Hoyle told BBC Breakfast: “Terrorism will not defeat democracy.

“We’re in a village and our village policeman has been murdered and all of our thoughts are with the family and the other innocent victims.

“But of course the House must continue – we will not give in to terrorism and today we’ll continue.

“We will be paying tributes later this morning and then the House will continue with its business.”

Media captionDeputy Speaker: Parliament won’t give in to terror
Media captionTheresa May: “We will never give in to terror”

Mr Hoyle, who is also chairman of the security committee, said: “We will be having an emergency meeting. We’ll be getting information – what else needs to be put in place – and we will reflect, not instantly, we’ve got to take on board what’s happened and we will make decisions accordingly. Of course, we’ve got to look after both houses.”

He said there would be support for MPs and staff who “witnessed things they never expected to witness in their lives”, he said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said police investigating the attack were working under the assumption it was “linked to Islamic terrorism”.

“The working assumption is that this is related to Islamic terrorism in some form,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “That’s their assumption at the moment – but they don’t yet have a full enough picture of this man and his known associates who may or may not have helped prepare this attack – that work is still going on.”

May ‘to offer message of reassurance’

Mr Fallon said it was harder in this country “to get hold of arms – that is why, perhaps, the attacker used a vehicle or a knife”, adding that security agencies have managed to prevent “similar plots” in the past.

After MPs observed a one minute’s silence in the Commons, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox opened Commons business to say: “As we begin our questions today, it is appropriate that we recommit ourselves to the values this parliament represents.

“Those who carry out such wicked and depraved actions as we saw yesterday can never triumph in our country – and we must ensure that it is not violence, hatred or division but decency, goodness and tolerance that prevails in our country.”

The prime minister, who chaired a meeting of the emergency response committee Cobra, is expected to address MPs – at about 10:30 GMT – on Thursday with a message of reassurance, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.

On Wednesday, Mrs May denounced the “sick and depraved” incident, in which five people died.

She stressed it would not stop people going to work as normal or Parliament from sitting on Thursday – and she praised the “exceptional bravery” of the police officer who died.

In a statement outside No 10 on Wednesday evening, Mrs May said her thoughts were with the officer’s relatives and those others who had been killed and injured in the “appalling incident”.

“For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe.

“Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way.”

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