302017Mar

We must never give in to terrorism and violence

I write this the week after an evil terrorist tragically murdered four innocent people and injured so many more in the heart of our capital city.

Michelle Donelan’s column in the Gazette&Herald [30 March 2017]

I will not sugar-coat it – the day was utterly horrific.

My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of those who gave their lives or who have been injured, many with life-changing injuries.

My personal experience was all the more terrifying because I was so unbelievably frightened for my staff as we were led to believe that a gunman was loose in Parliament.

I was in lockdown outside the chamber after voting, but my staff were in multiple places across Parliament and alone in my office was a young student who is doing a work experience placement for me.

The responsibility and fear that I felt was the greatest I have ever felt in my life. I can only try to begin to imagine the hurt, worry and heartache that the family, friends and colleagues of everyone injured or killed have been through and continue to experience.

We must never give in to terrorism because it threatens our freedom, our values and our democracy.

So we went into work in Parliament Thursday and Friday as usual – the mood was sombre but one of resilience.

We owe so much to PC Keith Palmer who approached the terrorist, unarmed, after ensuring the safety of a group of tourists.

He gave up everything to protect our democracy and the lives of everyone who works in Parliament. No words can say thank you enough.

In the days since the attack I have watched the police continue to go about their jobs and protect us and have been left in awe of their bravery and selflessness.

I want to take this opportunity to thank every police officer, not just in Westminster but also in Wiltshire, who each day works hard to ensure that the rest of us are safe.

It is so sad and frightening to think that even whilst walking on a bridge you may not be safe. We must not give in though, we still have our freedom and we must not let fear or terrorism take it from us.

If you have an issue that you would like to discuss or a specific problem then please do get in touch. I also hold weekly surgeries if you would like an appointment please email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call (01249) 704465.

This column is also published online at the Gazette & Herald website, you can view it by clicking here.