Counterterrorism minister battled to save life of wounded Westminster police officer

Mark Sands
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At least four people have died in the incident in Westminster. (Source: Getty)

The government's counterterrorism minister tried in vain to save the life of a wounded police officer in the immediate aftermath of London's first terror attack in more than 10 years.

Foreign office minister and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood was at the heart of events, attempting to resuscitate a police officer in the grounds of Westminster Palace.

Ellwood, a former soldier who lost a brother in the 2002 Bali terrorist attack, was unable to save the life of the officer who died from his wounds.

As details of the terrorist attack unfolded the parliamentary estate was place into lockdown. Some MPs sheltered in their offices but many were in the chamber of the House of Commons, where they were ordered to remain as the parliamentary session was suspended.

Read More: Scottish parliament suspends debate in light of Westminster attack

Prime Minister Theresa May had been voting on the Pensions Schemes Bill at the time of the attack, and was rushed to safety by her heavily-armed protection detail.

Throughout the afternoon MPs continued to tweet updates and talk to the media. Former business minister Anna Soubry revealed that universities minister Jo Johnson was “bundled” into a security hut by police officers as he arrived on the estate to vote. Soubry added that she and colleagues were escorted out of the House of Commons library “at gunpoint” by counter terrorist officers.

Tory backbencher Michael Fabricant said that he was among MPs and researchers trapped in his office during the lockdown. Sealed away for safety for more than three hours, Fabricant revealed he and frightened staff had broken open a bottle of whiskey.

Others, like DWP minister Penny Mordaunt, were in the immediate vicinity of attack. Mordaunt tweeted that she was able to leave the site via links to Westminster underground station, where Labour MP Mary Creagh had informed station staff of the attack and told them to begin an evacuation.

Read More: At least four people dead after terrorist incident at Westminster

Former Tory party chairman Grant Shapps said that police ordered MPs to "hit the ground and crawl to cover."

As an extraordinary afternoon turned into evening, partial evacuations began to take place with some MPs and peers gradually moved from the main chamber into the medieval Westminster Hall within the grounds of the palace, or to Westminster Abbey.

Others remained locked in the House of Commons itself, more than four hours after the incident began. Many MPs and peers were being processed by police as potential witnesses late in to the evening.

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