'More armed police than politicians'

A family poses for a selfie just metres from Tuesday's suspected terror attack.
Image caption A family pose for a 'selfie' just metres from Tuesday's suspected terror attack.

I left for work on Tuesday expecting a relatively quiet day that offered time to catch up with paperwork, interrupted only by the latest twists in the Jeremy Corbyn wreath saga.

The arrival of a Ford Fiesta outside the House of Lords at 7:37am changed that and I spent the day reporting on the security situation.

As in March 2017, the police cordon included the BBC studios. Unlike March 2017, the police also closed a number of streets some way from Parliament as they assessed the situation.

Barely 24 hours after the Westminster car crash, one would not know anything had happened. I took the photograph above fewer than five metres from the barrier that interrupted the Fiesta's journey. While I was there today, the barrier was lifted for a cyclist (with a parliamentary pass) and a street-cleaning van.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was shocking. She may have been shocked but, after last year's attack and as a former home secretary, she cannot have been surprised.

As police question a suspect, the debate over security here has been re-ignited. Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant said on Twitter: "It has been clear for some time that the streets round the Palace of Westminster need to be made safer for the public. I support pedestrianising Parliament Square."

Although barring traffic from Parliament Square has its attractions, it has its challenges too. Moving the perimeter could simply displace the target. Presumably, vehicles carrying ministers and MPs would be allowed through but checkpoints would have to be created removed from the palace.

A more realistic option could be the closure of the road alongside Parliament - Abingdon Street - although there are balanced arguments there too.

'Bye for now'

If it was an attempted terror attack then the timing seemed odd. There are more armed police than politicians here in the middle of August.

There are relatively few hacks here too - I've spent the summer either catching up with my family or co-presenting Good Evening Wales from Cardiff.

MPs and peers return on September 4, when I will be changing roles temporarily. I'm going to work for Today in Parliament and Yesterday in Parliament on BBC Radio 4, as well as BBC Parliament. I'll be back after the break - well, the end of the financial year.

A temporary successor, working for BBC Wales Today, BBC Radio Wales and online outlets including this page, will be appointed, as the politicians say, "in due course".