Police shut down Whitehall in the heart of Westminster after officers raised the alarm over a suspect package.
The discarded item was spotted by police on duty near the Prime Minister’s residence.
A cordon was put in place as officers investigated and witnesses described seeing a bomb disposal unit on the scene.
Police on motorbikes blocked both entrances to the road, which houses several Government departments.
Around 15 minutes later, the Met confirmed the item was deemed as harmless and the cordon was lifted.
The incident took place just before Boris Johnson was due to leave Number 10 to travel to the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.
He usually travels the short distance by car and it is not known if the road closure will delay his appearance.
In a statement, the Met Police said: ‘Shortly before 11:00hrs on Wednesday, 8 September, officers on duty in the vicinity of Downing Street noticed a discarded item on Whitehall.
‘A cordon has been put in place while an assessment is carried out to determine whether the item is suspicious.’
A later statement added: ‘The item has been assessed and is not suspicious. The cordon is being lifted.’
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