Last week’s murderous rampage on Westminster Bridge and on parliament lasted less than two minutes, but left five people, including a police officer, dead and will have profound and lasting consequences for us all.
It was a deliberate assault on our democracy.
And PC Keith Palmer paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting people who work in and visit our parliament.
I pay a massive tribute to Keith Palmer, and also to foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood for running towards danger and using his soldierly skills to try to save PC Palmer.
Like so many MPs and staff in the building, I was locked in for several hours for my safety and to enable the police to check that there was no further threat.
We will certainly need to double check our security arrangements, but we will not be cowed by terrorism.
We are an open society and must take sensible precautions, but not at the expense of our freedom and democracy.
We cannot always second guess the plots of those who mean us harm, and we should keep calm and carry on, or they will have won a victory.
We have been through Nazi and IRA bombs before.
I feel sure we will not give in this time.
Our democracy is precious.
I know many people like to visit parliament to see its ancient attractions of architecture and art, such as paintings and statues. Some want to see their MPs, and it is right that we see it as a ‘People’s Palace’.