• Saturday, April 13, 2024


New funding to help protect MPs from threats

While announcing the package, Home Secretary James Cleverly said no MP should have to accept threats or harassment as “part of the job”.

File photo of House of Commons proceedings – Representative Image – UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

By: Shajil Kumar

The government has announced a £31m package to help improve the security measures for MPs who are facing threats or harassment, according to media reports.

The measures will include the provision of bodyguards for MPs most at risk and additional police patrols in response to increased community tensions, BBC reports.

While making the announcement Home Secretary James Cleverly said no MP should have to accept threats or harassment as “part of the job”.

He will also be meeting police chiefs on Wednesday (28) to discuss measures to improve the safety of MPs.

MPs’ safety has become a major concern since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had last week cited threats to politicians for his controversial handling of a debate on calls for a ceasefire in the conflict.

The Home Office said the funding package would be used to increase private sector security provisions for those facing greater risk and to expand cyber security advice to locally elected representatives, BBC reports.

A few days ago three women MPs were provided bodyguards and chauffeur-driven cars amid rising concerns about their safety. The names of the MPs were not disclosed but they include both Tory and Labour members.

Several MPs have earlier spoken about the increased threats they have been receiving lately. Labour MP Preet Gill has said receiving death threats has become a ‘norm’.

Earlier Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner had told Sky News that she no longer goes out socially because of threats and abuse. She recently had to be escorted from a fundraiser that was interrupted by protesters angry at Labour’s stance on Gaza.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood’s home was targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters early this month.

His party colleague and Tory MP Mike Freer has said he was standing down at the next election, after death threats and an alleged arson attack on his constituency office.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said the attempts to intimidate MPs are a threat to our democracy.

Recently a dentist was convicted for writing tweets threatening Brent North MP Barry Gardiner.

In recent years two MPs were killed by assailants – Jo Cox in 2016 and Sir David Amess in 2021.

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