“In the aftermath of yesterday’s terror attack my thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and their families who will mourn their loss to such a senseless act of evil.
“I will never forget the ultimate sacrifice of PC Keith Palmer and his incredible act of bravery in tackling the terrorist attacker.
“My thoughts are also with the group of 13 Edge Hill University students and their lecturer who I’d been meeting with in Parliament just a short time before the attack took place. They had been on a Parliamentary tour before we met up for a chat on various political issues and my work as the MP for West Lancashire.
“Just before 2.30pm I left the group and headed off to attend a Westminster Hall debate. Little did any of us know what they would be walking into. I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that four of the students had been injured. I have been in regular contact with Edge Hill University following the attack.
“I was in the Commons chamber throughout the hours that Parliament was in lockdown. Along with the updates from the Leader of the House, we were following events via social media and news sites on our phones or tablets.
“During this lockdown initial uncertainty and worry gave way to a strong and determined resolve within the Chamber not to take a step backwards in the face of such terror attacks. It is right that the House of Commons continued its Parliamentary business today as a demonstration of that desire to not give in to terrorism.
“An attack on Parliament is an attack on the very essence of our democratic society. We cannot allow these acts of terror to create divisions and hatred as this is the aim of such terrorists. We have to defend and protect our values of freedom and democracy.
“After 40 years of public service I can say that Wednesday 22 March 2017 will be a day I will never forget!”