LEADERS and parliamentary candidates from across the city have been expressing their shock following a horrific terrorist attack in London where seven people have been killed.
The attacks began at around 9.58pm last night when a van struck pedestrians on London Bridge.
It then continued to drive to Borough Market where three men left the vehicle and began to stab numerous amounts of people. The suspects – who were wearing fake suicide belts – were then confronted and shot by eight police officers who discharged in the region of 50 rounds.
A total of 48 people were injured during the attack, which includes a British Transport Police officer and an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer, who responded to calls for help.
Police have confirmed this evening that 36 people remain in hospital, suffering from a range of injuries with 21 of them remaining in a critical condition.
Following the attacks, 12 people have been arrested in Barking, east London, in connection with the incidents.
Theresa May, the prime minister, has confirmed this morning that Thursday’s general election will go ahead as planned.
She said: ‘We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change.
‘While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is, to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.
‘So we need to become more far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society.
‘That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations. But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not as a separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.’
The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Scottish National Party have suspended national campaigning until this evening in light of the attack.
However, UKip have decided not to suspend national campaigning.
There are reports of five people being held by police after an early morning raid on flats in Barking, London which is believed to be in connection to the attack.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council said: ‘I am devastated for the victims and their families following the terrorist attacks in London on Saturday evening.
‘Thanks should be given to the hundreds of police officers and emergency services personnel who helped in the aftermath of the most recent attack on the UK.’
Flick Drummond, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, who will not be campaigning today, said: ‘This latest barbarity will not derail our democracy or way of life and my thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families.
‘I would also like to thank the tremendous courage of our police and emergency services who bravely dealt with stopping these armed terrorists and saving lives in circumstances that would be a nightmare for many of us
‘Once again, killers have tried to harm our way of life but I feel only confidence in our country when I say; they will not win, we remain united and our country will go the polls on Thursday.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats and Portsmouth South parliamentary candidate said: ‘The attack in London last night was cowardly and barbaric. Our thoughts and prayers must be with the victims and their families and our resolve must be to stand united against such mindless hatred.
‘It is really important that we do not let these people change the way we lead our lives or how the country operates. If we do, we let the terrorists win.’
He added that the party would not be speaking to voters and canvassing in the area in light of the attack, but that they would still be putting out leaflets.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It is an incredibly difficult balancing act. We want to pay our respects to the victims of the attack but we cannot let the events change the way we live and that we carry on as normal.’
Councillor Stephen Morgan, leader of Portsmouth Labour Party and Portsmouth South parliamentary candidate said: ‘Once again, it is hard to imagine the horror for those caught up in this appalling act of terror, and I know I speak for our great city when I say our thoughts are with the victims, families and friends involved. These murderous acts aim to undermine our values and our democracy. We must never allow that to happen.’
Councillor Colin Galloway, leader of Portsmouth Ukip said: ‘We absolutely condemn the attacks. They are totally pointless and barbaric. We are absolutely heartbroken about the impact that this will have on the families of the victims and all our sympathies are with them.’
He added that Ukip would continue to campaign in Portsmouth today, stating: ‘I see no reason why we should stop campaigning. All that will do is give them what they want.’
Rumal Khan, Labour parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North said: ‘I am deeply saddened by this violence perpetrated yet again on innocent bystanders. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected and my condolences to all families involved. ‘I will be working closely with others to bring different communities together in our city to stand up for our common British values against these acts of terrorism.’
‘My thoughts and prayers are with all people in London and all my relations who live near that area in this difficult testing time.’
Ian McCulloch, Green parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South said: ‘It is important to show respect and I do not think anybody should be trying make any political capital about what is happening. We are just days away from a general election and for me it is important that we are still able to discuss the issues. We still need to be able to talk about issues and to be able to ask questions of those who are seeking power.’
Penny Mordaunt, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North tweeted: ‘Thoughts are with all victims of this act of terror and with London, especially her emergency services, who again, have been amazing.’
Olivia Pinkney, chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary tweeted: ‘Thoughts from all at Hampshire Police for all affected by attack in London and colleagues from @CityPolice, @BTP and @metpoliceuk.’
Flags will be flying at half mast at Portsmouth Guildhall today in tribute to the victims.