Michael Fabricant had drawn Question 7 today (Wednesday 19th May) to the
Prime Minister. He was sitting in his usual place – just a few feet –
from Tony Blair ready to ask his question when purple powder bombs were
thrown into the House of Commons Chamber from the visitors’ gallery. One
hit Tony Blair on the shoulder and the powder quickly spread through the
Chamber. "I breathed some of it in as did many of us. I can still feel it
on the back of my throat" says Michael Fabricant. "David Maclean, our Chief
Whip and a former army officer, ordered us to evacuate the Chamber quickly
to avoid further contamination. At the moment I have no idea what the
purple powder is. I am assuming and hoping it is harmless.
"Despite the erection of a screen, someone was able to access the gallery
beyond the screen and probably had a pass issued by an MP. There will
clearly be an investigation about this. My fear now is that the consequence
will be that Parliament will be made so secure, it will be increasingly
difficult for the public to participate in the functioning of democracy in
the House of Commons.
"I hope that the disconnect that exists between the work of MPs in
Westminster and the general public will not be made worse by this attack.
It would be a shame if our relatively open House of Commons were restricted
by the fear of terrorist activities. It’s important we get the balance
right between security for the Government and Opposition in Westminster and
access to the general public."