Northampton MP passed through terror attack courtyard 'two minutes' before fatal stabbing
A Northampton MP has revealed how heÂ had walked throughÂ a Westminster courtyard just two minutes before a terrorist stabbed a police officer to death in a knife rampage at the heart of the capital.
David Mackintosh MP has today revealed how he narrowly avoided being caught up in yesterday's terror attack in London.
The Conservative politician for Northampton South was returning from a vote on a piece of legislation when he walked through New Palace Yard at around 2.45pm.
Minutes later an as-yet-unnamed attacker charged into the grounds before brutally stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death. He lunged at another officer, according to eyewitnesses, before being shot dead by armed guards.
Speaking today, Mr Mackintosh said: "I was there only two minutes before.
"I had already voted and I was early, so I went back onto the chamber. People came rushing in saying they had heard gun shots.
"For a split second I didn't quite know what to do. The deputy speaker suspended the house and told everyone to stay there.
"The Commons went into lockdown, all the doors were shut within a few minutes.
"There were armed guards in there protecting the MPs."
MPs were kept in the House of Commons chamber until around 9pm amid fears for a repeat attack. However Mr Mackintosh said the members struggled to find out what was going on outside the debating room as the internet connection was intermittent.
"It was hard to understand what was happening," he said. "People were very concerned, they had heard gunshots and seen people running.
"My staff were back in the office. They were telling me they had heard commotion outside."
Mr Mackintosh said the atmosphere in the chamber was tense, but "people understood it was necessary" to be kept under lockdown.
MPs have returned to work today, despite the fact a large cordon remains around Westminster Bridge, where the attacker had also ploughed through crowds of people in a Hyundai Tuscon.
The death toll stands at five, including the attacker himself, though several others remain in a critical condition.
Mr Mackintosh said, there is a "sad, somber" atmosphere in Parliament today. But he said it was important to carry on as normal.
He said: "Democracy must win, it can, it can't be stopped.
"Sadly it has become a part of MP's lives that that we have to expect we may come under attack."
Flags outside Northampton's Guildhall and at the Mounts fire station are flying at half-mast today as people in the town come to term's with yesterday's events.
Last night Rector of All Saints church, Father Oliver Coss, held prayers for Northampton MPs David Mackintosh and Michael Ellis. Today there will be a vigil at All Saints between 4.45pm and 5.45pm.