'˜In my 12 years in Parliament there has never been anything like this' - MP Shailesh Vara describes scene from Commons lockdown
MP Shailesh Vara has described the scene at the House of Commons which is currently in lockdown following today's shocking firearms incidents outside Westminster which police are treating as a terrorist attack at this time.
The MP for North West Cambridgeshire is currently inside the Commons chamber where the business for today has been cancelled.
He said: “My thoughts and prayers are very much with those that have been injured and hurt, and I give full praise for the security services who are trying to deal with the situation.
“There was a vote occurring at the time when things happened. I had just voted and was going back into the chamber to await the result when colleagues started speaking.
“Some of them on the way back to the chamber had heard shots. It became clear there a very serious situation that had occurred.
“Following that the house was initially suspended by the deputy speaker. The Leader of the House of Commons stood up and gave an update that he had at the time, that somebody had been stabbed.
“We now gather a car has gone into some people at Westminster Bridge and that somebody attacked someone believed to be a police officer in Westminster who was then shot.
“Some people heard gun shots, others saw bits and pieces in front of the House of Commons where one colleague saw somebody leap over a fence.
“It’s a question of people seeing what they saw and heard and putting things together and following the events on their mobile phones while we are sitting here.
“We are just waiting for further information.”
Mr Vara added: “The mood is sombre. We are all concerned about those that have been hurt.
“There’s considerable concern amongst all of us for all of the people in and around the Palace of Westminster at this difficult time, and we are concerned about our staff that are in other parts of the palace.
“In my 12 years in Parliament there has never been anything like this before at all.
“We are all getting emails, texts and calls from people asking if we are alright. It’s a situation I’ve never seen before.
“There’s a calm but sombre atmosphere in the house.
“People are not allowed to make phone calls in the Commons but here I am making a call and so are other people.
“We needed to speak to loved ones.”
MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson tweeted: “My Parliamentary staff are now safe and I’m in Commons in lockdown under armed guard. Sitting suspended for today. Very sad at loss of life.”