Theresa May confirms General Election will go ahead after London attack as she urges people to 'go about their lives as normal'

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee following last night's terrorist incident in London. Picture by Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee following last night's terrorist incident in London. Picture by Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
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Theresa May has urged UK citizens to go about their lives as normal after the London attack - and ruled out postponing Thursday's General Election.

Seven people were killed and 48 injured after the van and knife attack in the London Bridge area last night. Three suspects were shot dead by armed police.

Some had called on the Prime Minister to delay Thursday's General Election, saying terrorists must not be allowed to claim influence over the result.

But after chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee this morning, she ruled out postponing the ballot.

Here is her statement:

"Last night, our country fell victim to a brutal terrorist attack once again.

"As a result I have just chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency committee, and I want to update you with the latest information about the attack.

"Shortly before 10 past 10 yesterday evening, the Metropolitan Police received reports that a white van had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.

"It continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market, where three terrorists left the van and attacked innocent and unarmed civilians with blades and knives.

"All three were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, but the police have established that this clothing was fake and worn only to spread panic and fear.

"As so often in such serious situations, the police responded with great courage and great speed. Armed officers from the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police arrived at Borough Market within moments and shot and killed the three suspects.

"The terrorists were confronted and shot by armed officers within eight minutes of the police receiving the first emergency call.

"Seven people have died as a result of the attack, in addition to the three suspects shot dead by the police. Forty-eight people are being treated in several hospitals across London.

"On behalf of the people of London and on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank and pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of the police and the emergency services, and the courage of members of the public who defended themselves and others from the attackers.

"And our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and with their friends, families and loved ones.

"This is, as we all know, the third terrorist attack Britain has experienced in the last three months. In March a similar attack took place just around the corner on Westminster Bridge.

"Two weeks ago the Manchester Arena was attacked by a suicide bomber and now London has been struck once more.

"And at the same time the security and intelligence agencies and police have disrupted five credible plots since the Westminster attack in March.

"In terms of their planning and execution, the recent attacks are not connected but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.

"As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.

"We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways.

"First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

"It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.

"Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone.

"It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners.

"It will only be defeated when we turn people's minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values - pluralistic British values - are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

"Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed.

"Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

"We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.

"And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online."