Ignore a lone terrorist in Westminster or let the extremists win

Prime Minister Theresa May is right to say we must ignore the terrorists and continue everyday life as normal. If we overreact, the extremists will have won. However, ignoring them also means resolutely avoiding the temptation to introduce more draconian anti-terror legislation.

Yesterday’s attacker may well have had Parliament as his end destination but he killed and injured 43 people from ten different countries. It was an indiscriminate act of senseless brutality on multicultural Britain. Mrs May was right to say it was an attack on free people everywhere.

She will be keen, even under pressure, to be seen to be doing something. But if the Prime Minister wants to be the protector of our freedom and democracy as well as law and order, she must be careful.

Policies that single people out from certain nations could foster islamophobia and embed prejudice. For example, blindly following the United States and banning electronic devices on some flights earlier this week sends out a message that passengers from these countries are dangerous.

Aligning herself too closely with US President Donald Trump could be political suicide for Mrs May.

Instead she should look to the many role models in Europe, not least German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After all Mrs May campaigned to remain in the European Union. It is ironic that she has been tasked with the poisoned chalice of Brexit.

Leaving the EU will make it more difficult to counter terrorism without robust new agreements.

We live in a liberal democracy, not a surveillance society, and this is what we must protect.