LONDON (AP) — Newly published video showing British Prime Minister Theresa May being rushed out of Parliament while an attack unfolded nearby seems to show some confusion and delays on the part of her security detail.
On Friday, The Sun newspaper showcased the 73-second video, taken by a bystander in Parliament on Wednesday.
May had been voting in Parliament when the attacker in a SUV ran over a number of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and rushed onto Parliament’s grounds, where he was shot dead after fatally stabbing a policeman.
In the video, there are times when May is seen standing exposed to possible sniper fire. At one point, she wanders off for a few moments without a security escort before she is ushered into her Jaguar sedan.
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Ken Wharfe, formerly a bodyguard to the late Princess Diana, said the video reveals flaws in the procedure used to evacuate May during a dangerous situation.
“There was confusion as to where the car was and who was getting in and no cover of Theresa May by the security guard,” he said. “When someone like that gets in the car, you cover their back.”
He said established procedures were not properly executed and that as a result May was exposed for 10 seconds when police didn’t know if there were more attackers on the grounds of Parliament or outside its perimeter.
“There’s always a risk at this point that there could be a sniper from outside,” he said.
There was also some confusion inside Parliament at the start of the attack. At one point, according to Conservative lawmaker Nigel Evans, fellow legislator Michael Ellis ran into the House of Commons and said, “Has anyone seen the prime minister?”
Moments later, the prime minister was located, taken to her car and driven at high speed to her nearby residence at 10 Downing Street.
British officials, meanwhile, have praised the security operation despite the glitches. May told lawmakers Thursday if the attacker intended to get inside Parliament he failed to do so.
“We should be clear that he did not succeed,” she said, adding that police and the Cabinet Office are reviewing procedures.
Mark Rowley, Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism chief, said Friday that authorities have long tried to balance the desire for public access to Parliament against the need for safety. He admitted that changes may now be needed.
“My team will work with Parliamentary authorities to assess whether a different tone or a different balance is necessary,” he said.