Home Secretary Amber Rudd says intelligence failure did not cause Westminster attack
Home Secretary Amber Rudd - Image credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Amber Rudd has denied that intelligence failures were to blame for yesterday's terror attack on Westminster which left four dead and dozens injured.
The Home Secretary said it would be "absolutely wrong" to suggest that the security services had allowed Khalid Masood to slip through their net.
Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that the 52-year-old had been investigated by MI5 in the past about his extremist views, but was seen as a "peripheral figure" and was not under surveillance.
Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before entering the Parliamentary precinct and stabbing to death PC Keith Palmer.
Police revealed today that his other two victims were Aysha Frade and Kurt Cochran, who was from Utah and was in London celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.
Speaking to the BBC, Rudd defended the work done by the security services to keep Britain safe from terror.
Asked if yesterday's events were an intelligence failure, the Home Secretary said: "I think that would be absolutely the wrong judgement to make.
"I'm confident that as we get more information – and I really can't be drawn any further on it at the moment – that we will learn more and take comfort from the information that we have and the work that the intelligence services do."
She added: "We have to remember that this man was known to them partially because he had been in jail, but not for terrorist offences.
“I think we have to be careful before we point any finger of blame at the intelligence services. They do a fantastic job.
"The fact that he was known to them doesn't mean that someone has 24-hour cover. I think we'll discover more about this particular man and the people around him but I'm in no doubt that the intelligence services are doing a great job."
Rudd also insisted there would be no "knee-jerk reaction" from the UK Government in the wake of the terror attack, and insisted the intelligence community already have the powers they need to combat terror.
"I am absolutely confident they have what they need." she said.
"We have actually increased the counter-terrorism budget. We've increased the amount of funding for the armed uplift for policing.
“We will always protect people as the first priority of government. I believe they have the right resources, but we will always make sure they do so."