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Westminster attack: MPs are shaken, but not defeated

"We are not afraid."

Those were the defiant words of the Prime Minister this morning as she addressed the Commons.

But MPs feel fear, just like the rest of us. And fear - terror - is exactly what many experienced yesterday.

So yes, collectively, MPs are here today to show they will not be cowed. But individually, many are still in shock.

Westminster Bridge was closed off in the aftermath of the attack Credit: PA

Of course they are well protected here, probably better than almost anyone else in Britain.

But yesterday the sealed doors and steel railings felt more like a trap, as many had no idea who, or what, was threatening their safety inside the palace.

One MP told me she hid in a cupboard with several lords, believing a gunman was on the run.

Another broke down in tears as he described to me how he heard shots fired just yards away from him.

Others are still recovering from the trauma of losing their colleague Jo Cox, just nine months ago. Her Yorkshire colleagues look particularly drawn today.

MPs held a minute's silence before the start of Thursday's session Credit: HOC

In the Commons, they showed their stronger side. MP after MP insisting Britain's values would not be defeated, agreeing with the Prime Minister that normality is the best response.

But normality isn't really something MPs know a lot about. Increasingly, they are the target of abuse, threats, and yesterday, of terror.

  • MP pays tribute to stricken Pc Keith Palmer

Today many of them paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer and the unrivalled bravery shown by the police officers who protect Parliament.

But while we must continue to challenge our elected representatives and make them earn their votes, given the trauma MPs are increasingly expected to endure - and the defiance they continue to show - perhaps bravery is something we should also recognise in many of them too.

MP Tobias Ellwood (c) helped the emergency services on Wednesday Credit: PA

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