The Houses of Parliament are under security lockdown after a shooting and reports of further violence nearby.

House of Commons leader David Lidington told MPs that a “police officer has been stabbed” and that the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police”.

He added that there were “reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster.” Several casualties were seen lying in the road on Westminster Bridge after a car ploughed into at least half a dozen people. One witness, Richard Tice, said he saw “eight or 10 prostrate people on the ground….from north to south of the bridge, clearly injured.”

Witnesses within the House of Commons heard shouts before police warned staff to remain in their offices. Jim Pickard, the FT’s chief political correspondent, said there were more than 30 police at the scene and two bodies on the ground.

An air ambulance is also on the scene.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at approximately 2.40pm to reports of an incident at Westminster Bridge. Police are currently on the scene, and it is being treated as a firearms incident.

It said it will provide more information as soon as it can.

Journalist Quentin Letts told the BBC:

We saw a thick set man in black clothes come through the gates into New Palace Yard and he was carrying what looked like a stick. He was challenged by one of the policemen in yellow and then one of them fell down and we could see the man moving his arm in such a way that he appeared to be stabbing the policeman.

The police called for help, which came very quickly and the man had moved perhaps 15 yards when two plain clothes guys with guns shouted at him – what seemed like it was a warning and he ignored it and they shot him two to three times and he fell.

Parliament is suspended. Mr Lidington said:

At the moment, the very clear advice from the police and the security of the house is that we should remain under suspension and the Commons should remain in lock down until it is safe to return to normal procedures.

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