An afternoon of pain, and pride

Yesterday's events around Parliament will never be forgotten by those present.

I, like so many others, was fortunate to be spared any danger by the actions of those who protect us, for which my grateful thanks. On the way to vote I met colleagues and staff being ushered from the incident, just a few yards away, and followed the instructions of the police to the places of safety where we spent the next few hours in lockdown.

We all knew that an attack would happen. This is a world-wide threat to a way of life challenged by fanatics, who cannot win by persuasion and seek only to kill, maim and coerce. After Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul and Nice there was no possibility of London not being targeted. God alone knows how many attempts have been thwarted by those who look after us.

Such attacks will not end soon. But a combination of measures, from undermining their wicked and false philosophy, to the use of legitimate force against them, will eventually overcome them. In the meantime the world will go on, vigilant, but unbowed by the threat.

However, each incident leaves a mark, and moments of reflection for all of us. Two things struck me about yesterday. Firstly, while all that we do in Westminster is of importance, we now have to measure what we do, what we say and how we act against the lives of those prepared to die to allow us to do our job. That puts a renewed obligation on all who participate in democracy, which is you and me, to be worthy of PC Keith Palmer and his colleagues.

Secondly, it will never be the name or actions of the attacker that is remembered, but the reactions of those who rise to an occasion they could never have imagined. Passers-by offered comfort to those on Westminster Bridge, and security staff rushed towards danger. And my friend Tobias Ellwood, whose life has already been scarred by the loss of his brother in the Bali terrorist bombing, in an instant put all his training and life as a soldier into his attempt to save the life of the stricken policeman, while the risk of further danger was still high.

The pain of loss for those who have suffered, and for some the lifelong sentence of their injuries, are beyond the experience and understanding of most of us. But we can all share pride in the selflessness of humanity in a crisis, the values which will ultimately prevail in any contest with evil.

Today, and every day, we think of how in our day to day lives we might live up to such examples of the best of us.