Minister Tobias Ellwood honoured for efforts to save Pc Keith Palmer

International affairs questions
International affairs questions

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood has delivered an emotional tribute to Britain's police service as he was honoured for his efforts to save Pc Keith Palmer after the Westminster terror attack.

Mr Ellwood fought back tears as he addressed officers gathered at the Police Federation's annual conference.

The Conservative candidate for Bournemouth East went to the aid of Pc Palmer, who was fatally stabbed by Khalid Masood on March 22.

Mr Ellwood was pictured giving first aid to the wounded officer on the cobbled courtyard in front of Parliament in the immediate aftermath of the attack, in which four other victims were killed. Masood, 52, was shot dead by police.

Mr Ellwood was visibly moved after he was presented with a coat of arms and Police Federation shield on Tuesday.

He said he "reacted in the way that I thought was appropriate and I was one of many that stepped forward to do what we thought was right".

Mr Ellwood added: "What came home to me after the Westminster incident was just how close-knit your fraternity is and just how you don't know what's round the corner.

"And yet every day you put your uniform on and you stand in harm's way so we can continue our work.

"That really came home with all the messages of thanks I got.

"I'm just sorry I couldn't, and those others with me, couldn't do more to save Keith Palmer's life."

He told the conference in Birmingham much of the work in his ministerial role relates to the Middle East and Africa.

"There one of the challenges we have is dealing with extremism, dealing with poisonous ideology, of the religion of Islam being hijacked and extremists providing a promise to youngsters who don't really understand the religion and offering them a fast track to paradise if they conduct themselves in the extreme way that we see," the former Army officer said.

"I work very hard with our international allies on trying to understand this new threat.

"And that's all usually a long way away so when this thing happened in Westminster it was just a reminder of how much work we have to do across the piece in challenging this, what I believe is probably the most serious threat in the 21st century.

"We all need to work harder for that, but sometimes we fail.

"Sometimes these people are committed to doing something absolutely appalling and we saw that on the 22nd of March."