MPs could be offered more private security following the death of Sir David Amess, as it is revealed that Heather Wheeler, from south Derbyshire, has requested a police presence during her surgeries following threats.
Tory MP Heather Wheeler said following threats she had already received, she requested police presence during her operations while she discussed the issues with her constituents.
She said: “Meeting with our constituents to help them solve their problems is something all MPs do and we certainly don’t expect to be attacked. But this is the second MP to die in a few years and that will certainly force all MPs, including myself, to review our arrangements for surgery. Having received threats, I personally request a police presence in my offices and if necessary, I pursue this approach ”.
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It comes after Sir David Amess was stabbed multiple times during a constituency operation at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and terrorist cops are investigating.
MPs have already had to tighten security, including installing new panic buttons and video surveillance, after the 2016 murder of MP Jo Cox.
And now they should be offered more private security guards for events in their constituency.
Justice Secretary and former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today suggested that private security is the more “likely” option, rather than police.
It comes despite a warning from the nightclub industry that it suffers from a shortage of bouncers, with one in five venues facing downsizing due to a lack of security personnel.
It is believed that MPs can already request private security for their surgeries, but one MP told the Mirror that he is currently only available if there is a specific threat, on the recommendation of the police.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is seeking to extend protection after MPs complained of inconsistencies across the country.
When asked if there would be plainclothes police during MPs ‘surgeries, Mr Raab told Sky News:’ It depends on the individual.
“I think we’re more likely to look at things like private security guards, there is already, I believe, money available for that.”
He added, “I probably wouldn’t choose to have them outside of a surgery I have. I think I would be worried about the chilling effect, I’m not sure it is necessary to have this.
Mr Raab said he would not stand in the way of any MP, including women parliamentarians, who wanted a police presence during surgeries.
But the justice secretary warned, “We don’t want a wedge placed between us and the voters. “
He added: “The problem you have is that a lot of people come to see their MP, it’s a hell of a thing to do, it takes a lot of courage.
“They feel sensitive to it, they feel vulnerable. You don’t want to add to that dreadful feeling as they wait for a constituency operation.
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