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BRIT Review

Terrorism comes to London - The Day Westminster was Attacked

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Following similar incidents in Europe, London became the latest place to be hit by terrorism. It was what the security services had feared; not an elaborate plot, the likes of which they had foiled for over a decade, but one man with just a knife and a car. 

On 22 March 2017 the attacker, now identified by police as Khalid Masood, drove down Westminster Bridge indiscriminately hitting people on the pavement. One lady it would seem leapt into the Thames to escape death. Two people were killed; a woman on her way to pick up her children and an American tourist here to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. 

Having crashed his car the attacker fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer whilst entering the grounds of Parliament before being shot by an armed officer. 

At the time of writing there had been been three confirmed dead and over fourty in hospital; some with 'catastrophic' injuries.

We offer our condolences to the family and friends of all those affected by this appalling event. 

The information we provide below is to report on a major incident that will be remembered forever in British history. We hope, as so many have said, the victims and brave actions of our emergency services are at the forefront of these and not the vile actions of a twisted individual.  

We sign off this introduction by quoting a message posted on twitter and referenced in the House of Commons today:

"All terrorists are politely reminded that this is London and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on. Thank you."


  • Attack takes place on Westminster Bridge and gunshots are heard
  • PM is whisked away by her security detail
  • Emergency service personnel from St Thomas's hospital are seen rushing up the street to attend to victims
  • Parliament suspends activities and goes into lockdown as does the streets and tube station around parliament
  • First statement by the Metropolitan Police Service that they are treating the attack as terrorist incident
  • Scottish Government suspends its debate on a second referendum
  • Revelation that Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood attempted to resuscitate the injured police officer
  • First pictures emerge of the attacker on a stretcher in the Parliament courtyard
  • Reports that a woman been pulled alive from the River Thames
  • People are allowed off the London Eye attraction where they have been for several hours
  • Confirmation that PC Keith Palmer has died from his injuries and two others are dead
  • Police begin to let people leave their offices and parliamentary estate. Some MPs have been in Westminster Abbey for over five hours
  • PM makes statement outside No.10 Downing Street that the attacker tried to strike at the heart of our democracy but the UK will unite and return to business as usual
  • Further operational statement by Head of Counter- Terrorism Mark Rowley
  • Arrests are made in raids in London and Birmingham overnight
  • A minute's silence is held outside Scotland Yard and in Parliament
  • PM addresses the House of Commons which opened as usual; defiant Londoners carry on their day. Eleven nationalities have been injured or killed during the attack and the PM states that the attacker was British born 
  • Westminster Bridge re-opens
  • Islamic State claim that the attacker was a 'soldier of the Islamic State'
  • Victims named as American tourist Kurt Cochran and Ayshe Frade
  • Message of sympathy released by the Queen  
  • Attacker named as 52 year old Khalid Masood; someone with an extensive criminal record but none terror related
  • PM makes private visit to the hospitals where over 40 victims are being treated
  • Andreea Cristea from Romania is named as the woman who feel from Westminster Bridge
  • A vigil is held in Trafalgar Square attended by thousands
  • A minute's silence led by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is held at the United Nations
  • Home Secretary, Amber Rudd says the finger of blame should not be pointed at the security services


Prime Minister Theresa May - speech to House of Commons 23 March

Leader of the House, David Liddington updates the house about the attack. Parliament goes into lockdown.

Key Quotes

  • UK Parliament

"We can confirm that both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will sit tomorrow at their normal times."

  • Her Majesty The Queen

"My thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday's awful violence."

  • Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan - speaking at Trafalgar Square

“Those evil and twisted individuals who tried to destroy our shared way of life will never succeed and we condemn them."

  • President Donald Trump

"Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. she is strong and doing very well."

  • Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Craig Mackey

"Terrorists have tried to tear us apart before...They have never succeeded and they never will"

  • Prime Minister Theresa May - Comments in the Book of Condolences

This terrorist attack was an attempt to silence our democracy. It failed and today we send our condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and our thoughts to the injured. And we will always be grateful to the police and emergency services whose bravery and dedication thwarted this attack and showed the best of our values. This place is the heart of our democracy and a symbol of our traditions and our values. As we mourn those who lost their lives we are clear – Our values will prevail.

  • Tom Pursglove, Conservative MP for Corby and East Northants

"I can confirm that I was witness to part of the attack and saw, at close proximity, the assailant being shot by a police officer, in what was a great act of bravery in order to protect the lives of others.

This was obviously a very unpleasant and upsetting experience for all those who bore witness to it and I was particularly grateful to the prime minister who took the time to call me last night - this was extremely kind of her, given all that was going on."



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