Boris Johnson tonight urged Londoners to go about their business as usual as he vowed “never to be cowed or intimidated” after the London Bridge attack.
The Prime Minister spoke out after a knifeman wearing a fake suicide vest who injured several people – some seriously – was shot dead by police on London Bridge.
Confirming the incident “has been contained”, Mr Johnson said discussions would be held tonight about whether to suspend campaigning in the general election.
And he praised the bravery of members of the public who tackled the knifeman despite fears he was wearing an explosive vest.
“This country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this kind of attack and our British values will prevail,” added the PM, who received a personal briefing from the Met Police Commissioner.
Mr Johnson said the incident recalled the 2017 London Bridge attack, which left eight innocent people dead less than a week before the June general election.
A BBC debate between seven key party figures was still scheduled for 7pm. Speaking just before 6pm the Tory leader said: “Here in No10 we will be continuing to be having meetings and consultations as the evening goes on.
“To the best of our knowledge the incident has been contained. I pay tribute again to the work of the police and emergency services in what they have done.
“But I would urge everybody, of course, to be vigilant.
“One can’t help but think back to what happened in 2017 in the same part of the city and I hope very much that people will be able as fast as possible to go about their normal business.”
He said a decision on whether to stop campaigning would be taken overnight, adding: “We will be reviewing the matter in the course of the next few hours.”
He added: “I’ve just been briefed by the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police about the incident which took place at London Bridge this afternoon.
“While this is an ongoing investigation the police can confirm that this is a terrorist incident. Clearly my thoughts are first with the emergency services and the police, the bravery they showed in going towards bravery as they do. I also want to pay tribute to the incredible bravery of the general public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others.
“To me, they represent the very best of our country and I thank them on behalf of all of our country. I think we are all very saddened to learn that some people have been injured in this event, our sympathy is with them and with their loved ones.
“The Metropolitan Police are continuing their investigations. I can assure you that anybody involved in these attacks will be hunted down and will be brought to justice.I think the message we send to them and anybody who is associated with this type of attack is familiar. “
Boris Johnson returned to 10 Downing Street from his Uxbridge constituency and received a personal briefing from Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick as it was formally declared a terrorist incident.
A White House spokesman said President Donald Trump , who will attend the NATO summit in London next week, was briefed on the incident.
Meanwhile London mayor Sadiq Khan condemned “cowardly and evil terrorism” and vowed to stand up to those who “hate our diversity” as politicians turned their focus from the election to the incident that left several injured.
Praising members of the public who tackled the attacker, Mr Khan added: “Terrorism is cowardly and evil. We must and we will stand united and resolute in the face of terror. Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.”
Today’s horror came just 25 days after the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre lowered the terror threat level from severe – meaning an attack is highly likely – to substantial, meaning an attack is likely.
Jeremy Corbyn branded the incident “shocking”, adding: “My thoughts are with those caught up in the incident. Thank you to the police and emergency services who are responding.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan called it “horrific”, saying: “We must – and we will – stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror.
“Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.”
The capital’s mayor added: “It has been confirmed that people were injured in the attack. My heart goes out to them, their families and all affected.
“Thank you to our brave emergency services who responded to today’s horrific attack. Every day they put their lives on the line for us – running towards danger in order to keep London safe.”
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson also praised tribute to police and first responders.
Police declared a terror incident tonight after confirming armed officers shot dead a man wearing a fake explosive vest on London Bridge.
Police were called to a premises on the north side of London Bridge.
Several people were the stabbed by the knifeman before he was grappled to the ground and disarmed by members of the public.
Footage on social media appeared to show one man being pulled away by armed officers before the suspect was shot at point-blank range.
Another bystander could be seen carrying a large knife from the scene.
London mayor Mr Khan praised the “breathtaking heroism” of members of the public who tackled the suspect, saying while he showed the “worst of humanity” they showed the best of it.
Condemning the “horrendous stabbing”, Mr Khan said members of the public did not know the suicide vest was a hoax, adding: “They really are the best of us.
“Another example of the bravery and heroism of ordinary Londoners running towards danger, risking their own safety… I want to thank them.”
Mr Khan said some of those injured were “seriously” hurt and his heart went out to them and their families. He added more than 20 attempted attacks had been thwarted by police intelligence.
He added: “I’m mayor of the greatest city in the world. One of our strengths is our diversity.
“But we do know there are people out there who hate our diversity, who hate what we stand for, and are trying to seek to divide us.”