THE terrorist atrocity at Westminster last Wednesday has deeply shocked us all. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of all those innocent people who have lost their lives. The attack on people doing nothing more than walking on Westminster Bridge and on Parliament itself was senseless and sickening.

The police officers at Westminster have always been incredibly friendly and helpful to me since I was elected in May 2015. It is heartbreaking that an officer has lost his life by putting himself in harm's way to keep all those thousands of people who work on the parliamentary estate safe. He died a true hero, and I also pay great tribute to the courageous action of Tobias Ellwood MP who did all he could to save him.

We are so lucky to have such incredible,

dedicated public servants: the police and all the other emergency service workers responded quickly and bravely to tend to all those who have been injured. They are a credit to our nation.

It is the privilege of my life to serve our country's democracy. The Palace of Westminster is the ultimate symbol of that democracy and of the values that bind us together: liberty and the rule of law. Those who attack our democracy and our way of life will never prevail. The response across the UK has shown this, with other democratic institutions standing shoulder to shoulder. I was pleased that our own Council in Torfaen paid its respects by flying flags at half-mast on Thursday.

Indeed, on Thursday, as I walked to the House of Commons, there was an unfamiliar silence. With many roads closed and police cordons in place the usual hub of noise was missing. Amongst those I met on the way in - those who work in Westminster itself and in the vicinity - there was an atmosphere of quiet determination to treat it like any other working day. People were shocked but composed. There was a sombre mood in the House of Commons Chamber listening to the Prime Minister's statement. My first task was to sign the condolence book in Westminster Hall for PC Keith Palmer. I sent a message on behalf of everyone in Torfaen, paying tribute to PC Palmer's bravery, and passing on our condolences to all his loved ones, saying that we will never forget his act of courage in protecting others.