Members of the House of Commons found themselves under lockdown on Wednesday afternoon after reports of a shooting outside the British Parliament.
Numerous witnesses reported hearing gunfire near Portcullis House, an office building housing lawmakers and members of their staff. The Metropolitan Police in London confirmed that officers had been summoned at about 2:40 p.m. to Westminster Bridge, which crosses the River Thames next to Parliament, over reports of “a firearms incident.” The BBC broadcast images showing people, appearing to be wounded, receiving care while lying on the bridge.
Inside the House of Commons, astonished lawmakers were told that they should not leave the chamber.
“At the moment, the very clear advice from the police and the director of security in the house is that we should remain under suspension, and that the chamber should remain in lockdown until we’ve received advice that it is safe to go back to normal procedures,” David Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons, told lawmakers in remarks broadcast live on the BBC.
Christopher Hope, a journalist for The Daily Telegraph, reported at 2:41 p.m. that he had heard shots fired outside Parliament.
Shots fired outside Parliament. Loud explosion then shooting. Man lying shot outside gates to Parliament. Gun shots outside, Frightening.
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) March 22, 2017
Kevin Schofield, a journalist at the political website Politics Home, reported that a police officer had been injured, and that he had seen an assailant carrying a knife or a gun.
There’s been a shooting / stabbing at Parliament. Stay safe everyone. pic.twitter.com/Fb2LNXfLh5
— Luke Steele (@Lukesteele4) March 22, 2017
Reuters said that the parliamentary complex had been locked down. Several members of Parliament said that they been told to find cover. The BBC reported that an air ambulance had landed inside the complex.