Amber Rudd says UK's values will never be destroyed as four die in Westminster terror attack
Britain's values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law "will never be destroyed" by terrorism, Amber Rudd has said in the wake of the Westminster attack.
The Home Secretary spoke out after four people were left dead - including the attacker - and at least 20 injured by the devastating incident in the heart of London this afternoon.
Police said the attack started when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring members of the public - including three police officers on their way back from a commendation ceremony.
Eyewitnesses heard a loud bang as the car crashed into railings outside Parliament. Within a minute, a man - believed to be the driver of the car - forced his way through a security gate and attacked a police officer.
A second police officer approached the men, and the attacker got up and walked towards him with what appeared to be a knife in his hand.
A few seconds later, several rounds of gunfire rang out as armed officers shot the attacker.
Met deputy commissioner and counter-terrorism chief Mark Rowley said: "Sadly I can confirm that now four people have died – that includes the police officer who was protecting parliament and one man we believe to be the attacker who was shot by a police firearms officer. The officer’s family have been made aware. At least 20 people have been injured.
"As part of long-established and well-rehearsed plans Parliament has been locked down and the Met responded in line with our plans for a marauding terrorist attack. That response included uniformed and specialist firearms officers."
Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood tried to save the life of the police officer believed to have been killed in the attack.
Theresa May was inside Parliament taking part in a vote at the time of the attack, and was whisked back to Downing Street. She is expected to make a statement after chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee tonight.
In a statement, Ms Rudd said: "We do not yet know the full impact of this terrible incident. But I know that the whole country will be thinking and praying for those who are affected as I am. I want to thank the emergency services for the quick response and pay tribute to their bravery their courage and their professionalism.
"The Government’s top priority is the security of the people and I urge everyone to remain calm but to be vigilant and if they see anything they are concerned about they should report it to the police. We have the best police, the best security services in the world and we must make sure that we let them get on with doing their job.
"The British people will be united in working together to defeat those who would harm our shared values. Values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. Values symbolised by the Houses of Parliament. Values that will never be destroyed."
A Number 10 spokesman said: "The thoughts of the PM and the Government are with those killed and injured in this appalling incident, and with their families. The PM is being kept updated."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a video thanking the police and security services.
"Our thoughts are with those that have suffered loss and those that have seen terrible injuries this afternoon," he said.
My thanks to the police and all who responded so bravely to the shocking attack in Westminster. Our thoughts are with everyone affected. pic.twitter.com/593IYZlewD
The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assemblies both suspended their sessions today as news of the Westminster attack broke.
Heartbreaking news. My condolences to the bereaved families. Thoughts also with those injured and solidarity with the people of London. https://t.co/kzN1NPjpFJ
Parliament will sit as normal tomorrow, but government ministers have been told to only carry out essential visits.