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Westminster attack: Islington MP Emily Thornberry tells how she was yards away as drama unfolded

PUBLISHED: 16:43 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 22 March 2017

Police at Westminster this afternoon. Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry was stood yards away from the scene and evacuated. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Police at Westminster this afternoon. Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry was stood yards away from the scene and evacuated. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry was stood just 30 yards away from this afternoon’s apparent terrorist incident in Westminster.

Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in Parliament, both praised the police response in Westminster this afternoon. Picture: PAEmily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in Parliament, both praised the police response in Westminster this afternoon. Picture: PA

The incident saw people “mowed down” on Westminster Bridge and a police officer stabbed outside the Houses of Parliament. One woman has been pronounced dead as police continue to deal with the aftermath.

Speaking from her Westminster office, Mrs Thornberry told the Gazette: “I was going down the escalator in Portcullis House [a parliamentary office building] on the way to a vote. I got to the bottom and suddenly we were being shouted at to ‘stop’. People were running in the other direction. I then heard shots and saw flashing lights.

“A friend of mine was badly shaken up as she had lost her friend. We got back to the Portcullis atrium where we heard another shot. We saw my colleague’s friend, who I don’t necessarily agree with politically, and I said I was so pleased to see him. He said he thought he would never hear me saying that.

“It’s horrifying, but the police response was extremely rapid and they dealt with it very well.”

Mrs Thornberry added: “Now I am with my staff in my office in the Norman Shaw buildings. We are overlooking Westminster Bridge and there are a number of people being tended to.

“We don’t know how long we’ll be here, but we’re are all OK. We have tea, and have found half a bottle of gin which my staff are perfectly welcome to.”

The Gazette was unable to reach Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but he released a statement on Twitter saying: “Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific attack, their families and friends.

“The police and security staff have taken swift action to ensure the safety of the public, MPs and staff, and we are grateful to them.”

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