Boris Johnson has said that London appears “stronger, brighter and bigger” when faced with atrocities such as the Westminster attack that hit the capital five years ago.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the victims of the attack on March 22, 2017 at a service in St. Petersburg. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, on Tuesday, which was also attended by Home Secretary Priti Patel and Capital Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
Johnson said he joined the congregation, which included the victims’ friends and family, “not to mourn or to add more tears to those who have already shed.”
He said: “Instead, I’m here to celebrate the lives of Andreea, Aysha, Kurt and Leslie. They were each taken from us far too soon.”
The American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, the Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and the British Aysha Frade, 44, and Leslie Rhodes, 75, were killed in the attack, just as Pc Keith Palmer, 48, was killed while protecting the Houses of Parliament .
Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians and stabbed Pc Palmer before being shot and killed by police in the parliament area.
Johnson said PC Palmer displayed “extraordinary heroism”.
He said that Pc Palmer was “a man whose actions on the bright spring day showed that he really was the best among us, and whose courage and sacrifice remain an inspiration to us all.”
Johnson also wanted to celebrate the “skill and bravery” of the other police officers who “risked themselves to save countless lives, and who in many cases even today still sit between the innocent and those who would harm us.”
He added: “I am here to celebrate the selflessness and compassion of all who rushed to help strangers that day. Paramedics, commuters, tourists, MPs who did not cross the road but put themselves in danger to help others in their emergency. “
The Prime Minister also paid tribute to London, saying: “This unique city, this amazing city, which for so many centuries has taken everything anyone wants to throw at it, and has become ever stronger, brighter and bigger.
“And it is thanks to the incomparable spirit of the people in it, and it is the spirit we remember when we celebrate today.”
After the service, he laid a single white flower on the green outside the church, Westminster Abbey said.
In the Commons, the chairman, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said at the start of business on Tuesday: “Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of PC Keith Palmer, who died in connection with his duty to protect Parliament from a terrorist attack.
“His sacrifice will not be forgotten.
“May I, on behalf of the whole House, express our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues on this sad anniversary.”
Justice Minister Dominic Raab joined the chairman to send his sympathies to Pc Palmer’s family.
Metropolitan Police tweeted a photograph of Dame Cressida laying a wreath in Parliament’s New Palace Yard, while a service will also be held at Westminster Bridge, where London Mayor Sadiq Khan will speak.
The Met said: “Five years after the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge, we remember those who lost their lives on that terrible day.
Pc Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran, Leslie Rhodes and Andreea Cristea. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family, as well as the many survivors. ”