MP caught up in Westminster attack says ‘terrorists will not undermine our democracy’

A Northern Ireland MP caught up in today’s suspected terrorist attack in London has said extremists will not undermine our democracy.

It’s understood that a police officer was stabbed and an alleged assailant shot by armed police outside the Houses of Parliament.

Emergency personnel close to the Palace of Westminster, London, after policeman has been stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 22, 2017. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Emergency personnel close to the Palace of Westminster, London, after policeman has been stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 22, 2017. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

In another incident, which may be linked to the stabbing, a car ploughed into a crowd of people on Westminster Bridge, leaving one woman dead and several people injured.

Speaking as he was being ushered out of the Houses of Parliament by police, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the incidents have “all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack”.

“I was walking into the Houses of Parliament for a vote with a large number of MPs when we heard a loud bang from the direction of the gates. We were told to get on the ground and did so, and then a few moments later we were ushered inside the building to safety,” he said.

“I commend the police for the very swift action which they took and for the bravery they showed as they were clearly at risk.

Jeffrey Donaldson MP. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Jeffrey Donaldson MP. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

“I understand that a police officer has been attacked and that one of the assailants has been shot.

“The Houses of Parliament is now in lockdown and the House of Commons is suspended from its sitting and we are now being evacuated from the building.

“Staff, MPs, Members of the House of Lords are all being taken out of the building as we speak.”

Mr Donaldson, who was a corporal in the Ulster Defence Regiment, said he and his colleagues had been given no information about what happened, but said he suspects it was a terrorist attack.

“I believe there are also people who have been injured out on Westminster Bridge. We don’t know yet if the two incidents are linked, but I think there is a high possibility that they are. What I can say is that this has all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.

“The mood here is defiant and whilst many of the staff will have been frightened by this incident they are absolutely determined that these terrorists will not undermine our democracy.”