Britain’s Houses of Parliament could be stormed by terrorists in under five minutes leading to the massacre of 100 MPs, a secret test conducted by police has revealed.
The results of a simulated attack, which took place in the middle of the night while Parliament was in recess earlier this year, was released by the Sunday Telegraph.
London officers posing as extremists entered the House of Commons- the epicentre of Britain’s democracy- from the River Thames using a boat.
Officers were able to storm the Commons chamber within five minutes, entering the building via a terrace and navigating its corridors. If over 100 MPs had been sitting at the time, a massacre could have taken place, the outcome of the test revealed.
Three sources spoke to the paper about the incident, with one describing the politicians as “sitting ducks”.
Another said the public would be “horrified” if they knew what had happened.
A reviewer has recommended installing a barrier in the Thames by the Houses of Parliament to stop terrorists entering via the river. After security officials found the current system had loopholes, over 15,000 identification passes will now be reissued.
The “resilience test”- as it is known- was ordered following the Westminster attack in March by lone extremist Khalid Masood.
Mr Masood, 52, fatally stabbed an unarmed officer guarding the House of Commons after he ran through an open gate in the parliamentary estate. Minutes earlier he had run down pedestrians in his car on Westminster bridge.
The results of the test come just two days after a man was arrested outside another London landmark, Buckingham Palace, for brandishing a 4ft sword. Three officers were injured while detaining the individual.
A spokesperson for the Houses of Parliament said: “The security of Members, staff and the visiting public is our highest priority.
“While we cannot comment on the specifics of our security, we work closely with the police, security services and others to ensure that our security measures are effective and meet whatever level of security risk Parliament faces. These measures are always, and will continue to be, under constant review.”