MP starts wearing stab-proof vest to meet constituents over safety fears

3 January 2023, 23:16

Ms Crosbie is now wearing a stab-proof vest for constituency meetings
Ms Crosbie is now wearing a stab-proof vest for constituency meetings. Picture: Handout

By Will Taylor

An MP has started wearing a stab-proof vest to protect herself while meeting her constituents in the wake of the murder of Sir David Amess.

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Virginia Crosbie said she has taken to wearing the jacket for her own safety on top of her security personnel.

Her Tory colleague was stabbed during his surgery in October 2021, raising serious questions about how safe politicians are from would-be attackers.

Ms Crosbie, the MP for Ynys Mon, Wales, said: "I have been in difficult situations. I have surgeries, I do face-to-face surgeries where I wear a stab jacket, obviously following the murder of David Amess."

But she added that it was important to ensure she can meet directly with the people she represents.

Previously, she has spoken about her fears about threats – especially as a female politician – and said the situation had not improved.

"If anything, it's even worse," she said.

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"And it's not just myself - it's a lot of other, particularly female, MPs. Even before we've had breakfast many of us have received one or two threats."

Ms Crosbie is the latest MP to announce she has taken action to ensure she is protected while holding surgeries.

Mike Freer, another Conservative, has said he and his staff are wearing stab-proof vests and carrying panic alarms during surgeries.

Ms Crosbie said: "I think there's an awful lot more that we can do in terms of social media and abuse. I think there needs to be more accountability.

"The reality is people can turn to social media with impunity. I believe Twitter accounts should be verified, and on Facebook there needs to be fines, and there needs to be fines on some of these social media companies for allowing this content."

Sir David’s killing sparked debate about the balance between ensuring MPs’ safety and keeping access to them open.

Then-home secretary Priti Patel ordered a review of MPs’ security in the wake of the tragedy.

His death came four years after the murder of Jo Cox during the EU referendum campaign.

A spokesperson for Rishi Sunak said: "The safety of MPs is very important.

"There is a great deal of work that goes on both across government and with the parliamentary authorities on this.

"The government - mainly the Home Office - will take every appropriate measure to ensure the safety of MPs."