Terrorists should not be allowed to “disrupt and undermine our democracy” warns Waveney MP Peter Aldous in wake of Westminster attack
PUBLISHED: 12:42 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:42 23 March 2017
Waveney MP Peter Aldous has expressed defiance following the attack on Westminster, saying terrorists should not be allowed to undermine our democracy.
Mr Aldous had just taken part in a vote in parliament when a single attacker drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before killing a police office outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.
He said: “These terrorists are seeking to disrupt and undermine our democracy and it is very important that they do not do that. And what’s very much part and parcel of the democratic process, what we do here making a case here for our constituents, being accessible to our constituents, that’s something that must continue.”
The attack left four people dead, including police officer PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed and killed by the attacker outside Parliament. A further 40 people were injured.
Mr Aldous said he became aware of a commotion outside parliament as he was going to vote but didn’t think anything of it as there were often public demonstrations outside the building.
He was working on a speech in the library following the vote when he realised something was wrong and witnessed the aftermath of the attack from the library window.
Within half an hour, police began making their way through the building to lock it down.
Mr Aldous was evacuated to a basement office where he and fellow MPs and government workers remained for four hours. From there, they watched the situation unfold on a television amid speculation a second attacker was still on the loose.
Mr Aldous was allowed to return to the library to continue working at about 7pm and said he was struck by the number of police lining the corridors.
He said: “It really brought it home to me how the police very much do put themselves on the line to protects us all,
“We really do owe an enormous debt of gratitude to them.
“One of their colleagues very sadly lost his life and our thoughts are with him and his family at this particular time.”
Following the attack on Parliament, and the murder of Jo Cox MP in her Batley and Spen constituency last June, Mr Aldous said he would continue his work as normal but added that his concern was for the safety of his staff, both in Lowestoft and London.
He said Lowestoft was a very friendly community where he felt safe and he praised the work of the police in ensuring that continued.
“From my perspective it is something that I will very much get on with but I think that what I am conscious of is that I have people who work for me,” he said. “It is very important that I look after their interests and make sure that they are protected and not at any risk.”
Mr Aldous said security would no doubt be reviewed following the attack. He said the period after the Division Bell was rung, when access to Parliament is opened up to allow MPs from outside of the Parliament estate to get back into the chamber to vote within an eight minute window, was a potential weakness that may need addressing.