Gainsborough

Sir Edward Leigh: We will stand in defiance of terror

The attack on Westminster by one man yesterday was an appalling assault on the public and our Parliament.

We remain strong, resolute and defiant in the face of such attacks; for if we give in to fear, if we surrender to anger, if we let ourselves succumb to rage then we do ourselves the injustice of losing the very nobility and civility that sets us apart from the terrorist.

The state of nature is the state of war, so Hobbes tells us. It is our cherished achievement that for better or worse we organise into communities, we cast off the savagery that the terrorist so readily embraces and forge the bonds of society and nationhood.

As colleagues on the parliamentary estate rushed to help Keith Palmer, the policeman who died in yesterday’s attack, they also provided first aid to his attacker.

So great was the humanity of people caught up in the attack that even the perpetrator was aided.

It is the hallmark of our civility that both men were being treated, just yards from each other.

It is evidence that no matter how we are attacked, what actions are taken to undermine us, however they seek to destroy us we will face it, together.

It was telling that in the wake of this national emergency, as it remained unclear if this was an individual incident or the first action in a more co-ordinated attack, the Scottish Parliament decided, rightly, to suspend their sitting.

Across the world public buildings were lit with the Union flag in a show of solidarity. The terrorist makes no distinction between us. We are one people.

London is a place where peoples from across the globe come to live and work. It is the beating heart of our United Kingdom, home to the mother of all parliaments. It is a global city; and yesterday the front line in the battle against Islamic extremism.

Today we return to normal. For that is the only way to defeat the terrorist. We will ‘keep calm and carry on’. And in our own quiet way we will defy those who would see us brought low.

In the coming days we will mark the passing of dedicated public servants like Keith Palmer, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life, and the innocent members of the public who lost their lives too.

I know that the survivors of the attacks will not fail to find comfort and support from us.

And whilst there will be a heightened state of alert, an increased awareness that Islamic terror has returned to our capital.

We must continue together, being kinder to one another, keeping our hearts and minds open and in that way we will stand in defiance of terror.