UK Parliament terror attack inflicts ‘new normal’ on London

The terror attack in Westminster has imposed a “new normal” on London though Parliament sent out a message of defiance by saying both Houses would function as usual.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2017 16:40 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Westminster attack,London attack,London terror attack
A Union flag flies at half mast from the Houses of Parliament on March 23, 2017. Seven people have been arrested in London and Birmingham over Wednesday's terror attack at the British Parliament, police said, revising down the number of victims to three.(AFP)

The key word in the British capital on Thursday morning was getting back to “normal” as sombre faced MPs and parliament staff returned to the palace of Westminster in a show that it was business as normal after Wednesday’s terror attack, but a “new normal” was in place.

The Union Jack was flying at half-mast and road closures around the Westminster continued to be in place, but elsewhere in London there was the usual bustle on the transport network. Parliament was keen to send a message of defiance as the usually busy streets around were deserted.

A statement said: “The House of Commons and the House of Lords will be sitting today (Thursday 23 March) at their planned times. Services to support the business of both Houses will be running as normal and public access to parliamentary proceedings will be maintained.”

Flags fly at half-mast over the Houses of Parliament the morning after an attack in London by a man driving a car and wielding a knife left four people dead and dozens injured. (Reuters)

Overnight, Scotland Yard arrested seven people and conducted raids in London, Birmingham and elsewhere following the attack in which a man in a car mowed down dozens of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings around the Parliament complex.

The attacker then stabbed a policeman, who subsequently died, before he was shot and killed by armed security personnel.

Some reports said the car used to plough into people on Westminster Bridge was hired in Birmingham.

Flowers are left outside New Scotland Yard after a minute's silence the morning after an attack by a man driving a car and wielding a knife left four people dead and dozens injured in London. (Reuters)

Mark Rowley, who leads counter-terrorism policing, revised casualty figures on Thursday morning - four (not five) had died and 29 (not 40) were injured. Seven of the injured are in critical condition in London hospitals.

The four deaths were those of police officer Keith Palmer, who was stabbed by the attacker, and two members of the public - a woman in her 40s and a man in his mid-50s, Rowley said.

“It is still our belief - which continues to be borne out by our investigation - that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism...Clearly our investigation is ongoing - developing all the time - and is focused on his motivation, his preparation and associates,” he added.

London mayor Sadiq Khan announced a vigil at Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening, while Scotland Yard said it will hold a meeting of faith leaders during the day.

First Published: Mar 23, 2017 16:03 IST