I join you, Mr Speaker, in welcoming our colleagues from France here today, and I associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks. What happened yesterday within metres of where we sit now was an appalling atrocity. The police are still piecing together what took place and what lay behind it. It behoves us all not to rush to judgment, but to wait for the police to establish the facts, to stay united in our communities and not to allow fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cower us. Today, we are united by our humanity, by our democratic values and by that human impulse for solidarity to stand together in times of darkness and adversity.
I express my condolences to the family and friends of police officer Keith Palmer who gave his life yesterday in defence of the public and our democracy. We thank the police and security personnel who keep us safe every day on this estate, and we especially pay tribute to the bravery of those who took action to stop the perpetrator of yesterday’s assault. The police and security staff lost a colleague yesterday and continued to fulfil their duties, despite their shock and their grief for their fallen colleague, which many of them expressed to me when I was talking to them late last night. We see the police and security staff every day. They are our colleagues. They are fellow workers. They are friends. They are neighbours. As the Prime Minister said, when dangerous and violent incidents take place, we all instinctively run away from them for our own safety; the police and emergency services run towards them. We are grateful for their public service yesterday, today and every day that they pull on their uniforms to protect us all.
I want to express our admiration for Mr Ellwood, whose efforts yesterday deserve special commendation. He used his skill to try to save a life.
Innocent people were killed yesterday walking across Westminster bridge, as many millions of Londoners and tourists and all of us in this Chamber have done before them. As the Prime Minister said, the injured include people of 10 nationalities. We send our deepest condolences to their loved ones and to the loved ones of those still in a critical condition, including the French schoolchildren so welcome in our capital who were visiting from Concarneau in Brittany. We send our sympathies to them and to the people of their town and their community.
We thank all the dedicated national health service staff working to save lives, including all those from St Thomas’ hospital who rushed straight over to the scene of the incident to try to support and save lives. Many people will have been totally traumatised by yesterday’s awful events—not just all of us here, but those who were watching on television, worried for the safety of their friends and loved ones—so I ask in this House and in the country, please, that we look after each other, help one another and think of one another. It is by demonstrating our values—solidarity, community, humanity and love—that we will defeat the poison and division of hatred.