18 October 2021, 10:23
Police could be called in to guard MPs’ surgeries to keep them safe following the murder of Sir David Amess at a constituency event, the Home Secretary has said.
Priti Patel said the protection for MPs whilst they hold talks with constituents was just one option being considered under a “whole spectrum” of measures to address safety concerns, and added that each MP would be contacted by their local police force to discuss their safety.
She also said MPs could be asked to share their whereabouts at all times with police and refused to rule out airport-style security.
However she insisted that MPs should continue to be accessible to the public.
Echoing her sentiments was Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who told LBC’s Nick Ferrari on Monday that the Government must not allow safety concerns to drive a “wedge” between MPs and constituents.
“I think the one thing we all want to do is take a proportionate approach based on the risk and not allow a wedge to be injected between us as MPs and the constituents and communities that we’re dedicated to serve, and indeed who we’re voted in to serve, and it’s getting that balance right,” said Mr Raab.
“I don’t want to overreact.”
It came as Labour MP Lisa Nandy admitted she did not feel safe when going about her Wigan constituency.
“There have been a number of incidents in the last few years where I have been physically threatened,” said the Shadow Foreign Secretary when asked by LBC’s Tom Swarbrick whether she had ever found her safety compromised.
“I don’t feel particularly safe, being honest, doing the job.”
It follows the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed at a constituency meeting on Friday.
The 69-year-old father of five, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting members of the public at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
A 25-year-old man, understood to be Ali Harbi Ali, was arrested at the scene and has been detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The Home Office would not comment on reports that the suspect has the same details as a man previously referred to Prevent, the Government’s anti-terror scheme.
He is believed to be a British national with Somali heritage, and the suspect’s father, Harbi Ali Kullane – believed to be a former adviser to the prime minister of Somalia – confirmed his British-born son had been arrested.
‘Our hearts are filled with shock and sadness’ PM’s tribute to Amess
Police searches thought to be related to the investigation into Sir David’s murder continued on Sunday, with at least three officers wearing blue gloves seen working inside a flat in a converted property in Kentish Town.
A warrant of further detention, which allows detectives to hold the suspect until October 22, was granted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
The House of Commons has announced that most of the timetable for Monday will be scrapped to allow MPs to share their memories of Sir David before a church memorial service in the early evening.
His death comes less than six years after the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered as she was on her way to a constituency surgery.