Readers undoubtedly will be aware of the attack which hit Westminster on Wednesday 22nd March. It is not my intention to retell the story; instead, I would like to share with you some of the statement I made to the House of Commons the following day:
“After yesterday’s shocking events, I know that the whole House will want me to express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this outrage. A police officer, PC Keith Palmer, was killed defending us, defending Parliament and defending parliamentary democracy. Arrangements have been made for books of condolence to be placed in the Library and Westminster Hall. Our hearts go out to all those directly and indirectly touched by yesterday’s events.…let the security personnel who protect us—police, security officers and Doorkeepers—be in no doubt whatsoever of our profound appreciation of the way in which they discharged their duties yesterday, matched by other staff of the House. That means that this morning the House has been able to resume its business undeterred.”
PC Keith Palmer served with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command for 15 years but above all, he was a father, a husband, and a member of our community here within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster. PC Palmer will go down in history for putting himself in the way of danger to protect this community and my sincere condolences go to his family and friends at this unimaginably painful time. My thoughts are with all those affected; the families of those who died, those who bore witness to the atrocity, those Members and staff who endured an unnerving and frightening lockdown and those who were, and continue to be, treated for their injuries.
I would also like to reiterate my appreciation for the Emergency Services who responded to Wednesday’s attack. Their professionalism and stoicism in our time of need were both admirable and invaluable.
Published in the Bucks Herald, 28th March 2017
Geographically, Buckingham is a rather large constituency but in spite of its rurality, and the great distances which sometimes separate one settlement from its nearest neighbour, I am repeatedly struck by the strong sense of community I observe when I visit local towns and villages.