Package containing white powder sent to Houses of Parliament

Haroon Siddique and agency
A police vehicle leaves the Palace of Westminster during the investigation into a suspect package. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

A suspicious package delivered to an office in the Houses of Parliament contained “non-harmful” white powder, a House of Commons spokeswoman has said.

The Met’s counter-terrorism command launched an investigation after police were told of the letter just after 11.30am on Tuesday. There was a heavy police presence and the office where the package was sent was closed but the rest of the Westminster buildings remained open and no security alerts were displayed.

A Commons spokeswoman said: “Today the Metropolitan police investigated a small package containing white powder on the parliamentary estate.

“The powder was found to be non-harmful.”

The houses of Commons and Lords are in recess so relatively few MPs and peers would have been there, although parliament is also home to thousands of staff and journalists.

A Met spokesman said: “The letter contained a white powder which is currently being assessed by specialists.”