Theresa May urges public to ‘remain vigilant’ after suspected terror attack on Parliament
Theresa May has urged the public to “remain vigilant” in the wake of a suspected terror attack in which a car hit pedestrians outside the Houses of Parliament.
The Prime Minister branded the attack “shocking” as police revealed that it was being treated as a “terrorist incident”.
In a statement Mrs May said: “Today’s suspected attack outside the Houses of Parliament is shocking.
“For the second time in as many years the home of our democracy, which is a potent symbol of our precious values of tolerance and freedom, has witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door.
“My thoughts are with the innocent members of the public who were hurt in this appalling incident. I wish them a speedy recovery and we must be thankful that nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.”
This comes as the latest Government figures reveal a spike in UK terror activity, with 13 Islamist plots and 4 extreme far right plots foiled by the police since March 2017.
According to Number Ten, there are also 676 live counter-terror investigations currently underway – up from ‘over 500’ in March this year.
The Prime Minister said: “The threat to the United Kingdom from terrorism remains severe.
“I would urge the country to remain vigilant – but also come together and carry on as normal, just after they did in the sickening attacks in Manchester and London last year.
“The twisted aim of the extremists is to use violence and terror to divide us. They will never succeed.”
Speaking this afternoon, Scotland Yard's head of counter terrorism Neil Basu said: "Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident."
A man in his 20s was arrested after the silver Ford Fiesta he was driving hit cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.
The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the probe into the incident, with the suspect currently in detention at a south London police station.
Mrs May paid tribute to the emergency service staff who responded to the incident, saying they “were on the scene immediately and in significant numbers.
“Once again they did not flinch and ran towards a dangerous situation in order to protect the public.
“The country is hugely grateful for their calmness and professionalism.”
A string of politicians from across party lines joined the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the emergency services.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "My thoughts are with those hurt and injured outside Parliament this morning in what is being treated as a terrorist incident. Our thanks go to our emergency services who responded immediately. Their bravery keeps us safe day in, day out."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed that he was in "close contact" with the head of the Met Police about the incident, adding: "Thank you to the first responders who were on the scene so quickly."
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran meanwhile said: "Thank you to the emergency services for containing it so quickly."