MPs offered security guards amid safety fears in wake of Sir David Amess murder

22 October 2021, 11:51 | Updated: 22 October 2021, 12:13

MPs will be offered more security following the death of Sir David Amess
MPs will be offered more security following the death of Sir David Amess. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

MPs will be offered security guards for their constituency surgeries in the wake of Sir David Amess' murder.

They were warned in a joint letter from Home Secretary Priti Patel and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle that their safety was at risk from a "small minority of hostile individuals".

It comes after Tory MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death during a meeting with his constituents in Leigh-on-Sea on 15 October.

A court heard that 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali allegedly settled on a plot to kill an MP two years ago, focusing on two MPs other than Sir David.

Read more: Tory MP Sir David Amess stabbed multiple times at constituency surgery at church in Essex

Read more: Police could guard surgeries with airport-style security, says Home Secretary

In a letter reported by The Times, Sir Lindsay and Ms Patel wrote to MPs acknowledging that they would be "rightly concerned about their own safety and security, and that of their staff".

It added: "The work you carry out can put you at odds with a wide range of ideologies and views and a small minority of hostile individuals may be motivated by grievances which are difficult to detect and whose actions are hard to predict."

As a result, they said a "trained and accredited security operative will be available to come to your constituency surgeries".

Earlier in the week, Ms Patel told the Commons that intelligence officers had upgraded the threat level for MPs to "substantial", meaning a fresh attack was deemed likely.

She said there was no "specific or imminent threat" but it was understood MPs were being contacted over how their security arrangements may be altered.

It comes after Sir Lindsay told LBC on Monday that MPs and police needed to "work together" to ensure safety at surgeries.

"We need consistency across all police forces and that’s why I’m working very closely with the Home Secretary, which is important," he said.

Read more: Eye witnesses tell of their shock after Tory MP stabbed to death at constituency surgery

He later went on to say: "I think it’s best practice – both for the police and ourselves – working more closely, working together.

"As I say, I’m working very closely with the Home Secretary and we’ve got a top team of security people in the House of Commons that advise, support and put the measures in place. Not just for the House of Commons, but for the staff of MPs, the families of MPs, supporting them outside the gates of Westminster. That’s always going to be a difficult part but we do that."

Ali Harbi Ali will appear at the Old Bailey on Friday afternoon.