A portion of the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, was evacuated moments ago following an alert over a suspect device.
The evacuation, which the Telegraph reports was “in the shadow of Big Ben” consisted of the Police cordoning off a section around the New Palace Yard, where VIP’s cars arrive. The Prime Minister is often seen to be arriving into the House via the entrance near the base of the Elizabeth Tower which plays host to the bell known as ‘Big Ben’.
One officer told the Telegraph the alert concerned “a device” in the visitors centre next to Westminster Hall. This area has recently been renovated and is home to a cafe for visitors, as well as several meeting rooms.
Westminster Hall itself is open to the public, many of whom visit to marvel at the oldest part of the Palace. When the roof of Westminster Hall was recently repaired, tennis balls thought to have belonged to Henry VIII were apparently found still lodged into the hammerbeams.
In 1978 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) successfully bombed Westminster Hall by leaving a device in a corner of the huge room.
Parliament Square and areas surrounding New Palace Yard are currently closed off.