Police protection considered after MP’s killing – as home secretary doesn’t rule out ending anonymity on social media to tackle ‘relentless’ abuse

UK

MPs could be given police protection while they carry out constituency surgeries, the Home Secretary has told Sky News.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Priti Patel said the measure was under consideration in the wake of the killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

Watch special Trevor Phillips on Sunday on killing of Sir David Amess – live updates

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Should more be done to protect MPs?

The Southend West MP was stabbed multiple times at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday afternoon.

His death has sparked a debate about MPs’ safety and if more should be done to protect them.

Ms Patel said she did not think the killing of Sir David should change the nature of the relationship between MPs and constituencies.

But she did say there is a “need to close any gaps” on security, citing measures like “booking appointments in advance, checking the details of the individuals that you are seeing, checking the locations in advance that you are going to, making sure that you are not on your own”.

More on Priti Patel

Ms Patel said many MPs would be “reflecting” upon their own constituency interactions and safety in the wake of Sir David’s killing.

“I’ve been a member of parliament for just over 10 years and we are part of the fabric, the DNA of society, our democracy, freedom, the chance for people to engage with us,” she told Phillips on Sunday.

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Sir David Amess: A life in politics

“But what I would say is that a lot has changed.”

The home secretary added that the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 was an “intensive period” for MPs and the focus it threw on their own safety, saying: “We have all changed our ways of working because of changing concerns, threats in society.”

But she added: “This should never ever break that link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them.”

Asked if MPs could get the kind of close protection that they receive in Westminster, the home secretary said: “All these issues and options are in consideration right now.”

Ms Patel said action was “not necessarily about new resources”, but added: “We will do absolutely everything to – for me and for the government – this is about safeguarding our democracy and enabling our elected representatives to carry on doing what they do, serving the public.”

Asked if airport-style security could be introduced for constituency surgeries, she replied: “That would be with the police and the House authorities. There are lots of things under consideration already.”

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