Tributes to the victims of a terrorist attack in Westminster have been paid by communities and politicians across Sussex.
A man drove a car across Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians on the pavement, before stabbing a policeman who later died outside of Parliament. He was then shot dead by police officers.
At least four people have died, while several people are in critical condition in hospital, emergency services have confirmed.
Sussex MPs were caught up in a lockdown of Parliament yesterday afternoon (Wednesday March 22), with many returning to work today.
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield tweeted: “Wasn’t due in Parliament today but going in to show solidarity & pay tribute to PC Keith Palmer and our wonder police and security services.”
Crawley MP Henry Smith added: “On my way to Westminster from Crawley. Poignant but important Parliament resumes this morning after yesterday’s terror attack on us all.”
Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, said: “All of us who work in Parliament owe so much to PC Keith Palmer. My thoughts with his family and friends.”
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, who was seconds from the incident and heard the gunshots, said: “My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to those who have been injured - they were innocent people going about their lives.
“But I am also very relieved this appears to be a rudimentary attack and not something more organised and similar in its scope as Mumbai or Paris where automatic weapons were used.
“The police and emergency services must take credit for their response and that our democracy remains unharmed.
“We must also in deeds echo the words of the Prime Minister that these attacks are doomed to failure. We cannot and we must not be cowed by these threats to our democracy and our way of life.
“We must continue our lives, our work or picking up our children from school; we must not allow these cowardly people to defeat what we hold dear.
“I will be walking across Westminster Bridge to pay my respects to those so sadly killed and injured, but to also make it clear we are not scared or defeated by those who seek to harm us.”
Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman said: “The events of yesterday, and the violence in, and nearby, Westminster brings great sadness. My thoughts are for those who lost their lives and those who have been left behind.
“We now know that PC Keith Palmer, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, lost his life in the incident, as did three other individuals. That one of our servicing officers, a familiar face to many, has lost his life is a tragedy.
“I was on my way to visit, and take questions from, a group of local schoolchildren in the Parliamentary Education Centre around the time when the incident occurred. The division bell caused me to turn back to vote and I was therefore one of the many MPs who were asked to remain in the chamber for almost 5 hours whilst the police and security forces locked down the estate and ensured it was safe. Staff were also forced to remain in various parts of the building. The staff, police and security forces were incredible with their care.
“I was glad to get home to East Sussex albeit my thoughts are with those who did not return home to their families. I am now on the train on my way back to Parliament where I hope we can pay tribute to those who died, were injured or put themselves on the line to protect those who work in Parliament and the members of the public.
“It is important that MPs show dignity and respect. This is even more important in the age of social media. We must mourn what has occurred whilst not letting the events impact how we go about our daily business. On Friday, I will be joining the local school to take the questions that I should have taken from them on Wednesday afternoon.
“My thanks to those who have sent in their thoughts.”
Hastings Borough Council, Arun District Council and Horsham District Council was among those organisations observing a minute’s silence for the victim’s of yesterday’s attack.
Sussex Police’s deputy chief constable Bernie O’Reilly said: “Somber and reflective mood @sussex_police. RIP PC Keith Palmer. We will never be frightened or intimidated by cowards. Never.”
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Thoughts and heartfelt sympathies go to all those affected by yesterday’s terrible events.”
Flags are also flying at half-mast at many council buildings including those in Brighton and Hove.
Warren Morgan, leader of the city council, said: “The loss of lives is truly tragic and the impact of what has happened is incomprehensible. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone affected.
“Brighton & Hove welcomes all and embraces the cultures our diverse communities bring to the city. We urge everyone to stand together and denounce all acts of violence. We should remember that incidents such as this are rare and we should be vigilant but not afraid.”