Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

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Why We Must Never Forget PC Keith Palmer

This article appeared as a column in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday 31st March 2017:


"When I drove into Parliament earlier this week I saw the thousands of flowers that had been left on Carriage Gates, close to where PC Keith Palmer had been tragically murdered in last week’s terrorist attack.

A few yards away was where the terrorist had mowed down so many members of the public.

Westminster is often referred to as a village.  Sometimes this is derogatory, meaning that the place is small, remote, insular and inward-looking.  But, like any village, Westminster is a real community.

The 650 MPs mingle day-to-day with over 2,000 other people who work there.  These include our staff, as well as cleaners, catering workers and so many others.  And it also includes the many police officers whose job it is to keep us all safe.

The word ‘hero’ is often banded about in tabloid newspapers to refer to celebrities like pop stars and footballers.  But PC Keith Palmer was a real hero.  By bravely tackling the armed terrorist, he undoubtedly saved the lives of other people.

Keith Palmer had served in the Army before becoming a police officer.  He went to work last week and never came home, leaving a wife and a five year old daughter.  That’s why we must never, ever forget him.

The attack last week was not just an attack on Westminster.  It was an attack on all of us – on our way of life, our values, our freedoms and our democracy.  As a country we must do whatever is necessary to beat these terrorists. 

Our police and security services do a magnificent job and they deserve our complete gratitude.  We should be united as country in condemning terrorism.  But the police and security services also need our help to be vigilant – and they need the resources and powers to do the job.

As I drove through the gates of Parliament this week, passed the floral tributes, by total coincidence my iPod in the car played ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles.  If only that were true."

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