Staffordshire MPs have condemned the actions of terrorist Khalid Masood who killed four people in the Westminster attack.
Khalid Masood, 52, was shot dead by armed officers after he’d stabbed policeman Keith Palmer to death outside the Houses of Parliament, and Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
Moments earlier, Masood had mown down dozens of people on Westminster Bridge, killing Kurt Cochran, and Aysha Frade
Several MPs, including all three from Stoke-on-Trent, were locked in chambers in Westminster during and after the attack, for their own safety.
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth, told StaffsLive: “This was a despicable and cowardly act by a man who sought to devastate and to divide.
“It is thanks only to the extraordinary courage of our police and first responders that there were not even more casualties.
“We owe all of them a debt of gratitude, but none more so than PC Keith Palmer, who lost his own life defending the lives of others.
“His bravery is an inspiration to all of us.
“We will not allow this tragedy to divide us or to deter us from democracy.
“There is always a risk for any public figure and our democracy is a natural target for terrorists.
“Many MPs, myself included, have received death threats and last year we saw my colleague Jo Cox murdered by a political extremist.
“But our police and security services do an exceptional job and I have faith in them to protect us and to protect the British public.”
Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, added: “My heart goes out to anyone who has been affected by it.
“We once again owe such a debt to all those people who keep us safe and are the first to respond to incidents like this.
“There will of course be a review of security at Westminster, and indeed at many other public places, as a result of this.
“But it is vitally important we still have an open and accessible Parliament where anyone can attend to watch debates or lobby their MP.
“I know a huge amount of work goes in to keep myself and Parliamentary colleagues safe both in Westminster and our constituencies, and I won’t let Wednesday negatively impact on anything I do.
“Anything else would be to allow cowards like Wednesday’s attacker to win.”
Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, was not in the chambers when the attack happened.
He said: “I heard three bangs, I didn’t really know what it was, I was still hurrying to get to the vote.
“Then I heard police whistles and people came running towards me including MPs looking very shocked saying get back.
“I didn’t know what the devil was going on.
“Then the police officer stated yelling get back and then I knew that there was some serious incident happening.
“We did know at that time of it was a single person as it turned out to be or a whole a whole group of terrorists.
“I went back to my office and locked the door.
“I was calm in the sense that the door was locked, unless someone had a machine gun they would have had difficulty getting into my door.”
More than 20 people were injured in the attack, including 12 Britons, three French children, two people from Romania, four from South Korea, one from Germany, one from Poland, one from Ireland, one from China, one from Italy, one from the US and two Greek people.
A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said: “The thoughts of everyone at the city council are with all those affected by the terrible events in London yesterday.”
See graphic (below) for timeline of events: