What security do MPs have? Priti Patel orders review of MP security after killing of David Amess

What security do MPs have? Priti Patel orders review of MP security after killing of David Amess

Conservative MP David Amess was stabbed to death yesterday while running a surgery for his constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Southend, triggering renewed discussion about the safety of MPs, with Priti Patel ordering a review into the matter.

The 69-year-old, who had been an MP since 1983, was attacked at around midday on Friday 15 October.

A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, with the Metropolitan Police formally declaring the incident as terrorism.

Meanwhile, his death was the latest in a series of attacks on MPs in recent years. In 2016 Jo Cox was the first MP to be murdered in 26 years, with other recent incidents including the non-fatal stabbing of Stephen Timms MP in 2010.

In January 2000, Nigel Jones, then MP for Cheltenham, was severely injured when he was attacked in his offices by a man with a sword, and Ian Gow was killed in an IRA bombing in 1990.

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What security do MPs have?

The safety of MPs outside the Houses of Parliament is the responsibility of local police forces.

Most MPs do not get close protection while in their constituencies, but security was increased following Cox’s killing in 2016.

All MPs were offered panic buttons, extra security lighting, additional locks and emergency alarm fobs at their homes and constituency offices and the spending on these measures increased from £170,576 in 2015-16 to £4.5m two years later. Previously, they had to apply for these measures rather than being offered them.

What has Priti Patel promised?

Patel held talks with speaker of the house Sir Lindsay Hoyle and pledged to reassess security arrangements.

Following these talks on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Patel said: “The home secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course.”

How have other MPs reacted?

Meanwhile, MPs have spoken out about the need to maintain a balance and not be deterred from running their surgeries.

But Tory MP Mr Ellwood suggested it was time for surgeries to come to an end.

He told BBC’s Radio 4: “I would recommend that no MP has direct surgery - you can move to Zoom, there are other ways, you can achieve an awful lot over the telephone, you can get things moving far faster than having to wait for a surgery date.”

We just hope incidents like this never happen again.

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