Speaker Lindsay Hoyle ‘will demand police officers protect MPs at ALL surgeries’ as politicians warn ‘we can’t go on like this’ after Tory veteran David Amess becomes SIXTH killed since Second World War
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is set to demand police protect MPs at all their surgeries after the killing of Tory veteran David Amess.
Sources told MailOnline Sir Lindsay, who has long pushed for stronger security measures, is convinced that having officers on hand is the ‘only solution’ after the latest atrocity.
He is preparing to launch a review of the situation, amid alarm at a postcode lottery for how police treat politicians in different parts of the country.
Routine guarding would be another significant tightening after efforts to bolster security away from the Commons, which have seen spending rise a hundredfold to £3.24million since 2013.
Labour’s Kim Leadbeater – the sister of murdered Jo Cox, who now represents her old Batley & Spen constituency – said tonight: ‘This is the risk that we are all taking.’
Meanwhile, Tory MP Steve Brine said: ‘We cannot go on like this… we need to have an honest conversation.’
He added: ‘Everyone need to care longer than the next 24 hours about the safety of their MPs.’
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is expected to demand that police protect MPs at all their surgeries after the killing of Tory veteran David Amess
The MP for Southend West, 69 (pictured outside his surgery earlier this month), was stabbed ‘multiple times’ by a man as he spoke to constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea
Labour’s Kim Leadbeater – the sister of murdered Jo Cox, who now represents her old Batley & Spend constituency – said tonight: ‘This is the risk that we are all taking.’
What security do MPs have in their constituencies?
Even before the murder of Jo Cox in 2016 concern was growing over the threat to MPs away from Parliament.
The improvements were championed by Sir Lindsay Hoyle as deputy Speaker, and he has continued the drive since taking over as Speaker.
Every politician is now thought to have had a security assessment in the constituency, and they get a ‘standard’ package such as alarm systems, shutters, CCTV and personal alarms for staff.
If the police deem it necessary MPs can also access ‘enhanced’ measures.
The authorities do not specify what that can include, but it is thought to include secure transport and guards.
The costs are met through a central contract with Chubb, organised by the Commons.
However, there are concerns that most of the measures are applied to offices and homes, while surgeries often happen at churches or other buildings that might not be secure.
Complaints have also been growing about a postcode lottery for MPs, with some police forces offering more support than others.
A senior Parliamentary source told MailOnline: ‘The Commons will have a complete review again. Police need to be at surgeries. It is the only solution.
‘It takes something like this to shock everyone into action.’
Another insider said: ‘We cannot have a disconnect between MPs and their constituents. MPs are already pulling their surgeries because they are worried. But we cannot let them win… the electorate have a right to meet their MP.’
They complained that ‘different police forces take different approaches’. ‘In some places MPs are driven to and from events by police, in others where there might be higher risk they are not.’
An official involved in MPs’ security said politicians ‘feel as though they have to do face-to-face surgeries’. ‘It is part of the tradition. But do they?’ the official added.
‘They might have to insist on a police officer being at every event. In America if you are part of the legislature they all have security.’
Sir Lindsay said in a statement: ‘I am shocked and deeply distressed by the killing of Sir David Amess.
‘David was a lovely man, devoted to his family, to Parliament and his Southend West constituency. He was well-liked by Members and the staff alike, and during his almost four decades here, built a reputation for kindness and generosity.
‘This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and the whole country.
‘In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.’
Sir David has become the sixth MP to be murdered in office in modern times as questions persist over the safety of our elected representatives.
The Tory MP for Southend West, 69, was holding a surgery at the Belfairs Methodist Church, in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea on Friday when his attacker charged into the building wielding a knife and attacked the veteran politician.
Paramedics desperately worked to save him on the floor of the Essex church for more than an hour, but he died after suffering ‘multiple stab wounds’ in the appalling attack with chilling similarities to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016.
How spending on MPs’ security away from Parliament has soared
2019-20 – £3,380,172.64
2018-19 – £3,505,132.54
2017-18 – £4,578,602.64
2016-17 – £2,602,899.17
2015-16 – £170,576.24
2014-15 – £77,234.67
2013-14 – £33,726.95
2012-13 – £37,567.04
2011-12 – £80,792.80
2010-11 – £37,823.08
Today, as MPs paid tribute to Sir David after hearing the horrifying news, scores of stunned politicians called for better measures to protect parliamentarians after a string of violent attacks over the last 40 years.
As news of Sir David’s tragic death broke, Labour MP Rosie Duffield was among the first to call for MPs to be able to carry out their jobs ‘peacefully and without fear.’
The latest police data showed there were 678 crimes reported against MPs between 2016 and 2020 – as Brexit and Covid ensured the country endured one of the most polarised political landscapes in recent memory.
Sir David became the second MP to be murdered at a constituency meeting in the last six years, after Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, was brutally murdered by far-right activist Thomas Mair in 2016.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has been looking at ‘centralising’ the process for managing constituency bases, leasing 650 ‘secure’ constituency offices for MPs.
The move – broadly backed by Sir Lindsay – would be based on the Australian system where offices are provided directly, rather than being organised by individual politicians.
Supporters insist it would take the burden off MPs – many of whom will have no experience negotiating leases – get better value for money, ensure working spaces are fit for purpose’, and improve security.
It could also remove the potential for abuses when politicians end up renting space from their parties at the taxpayers’ expense.
But some senior MPs are deeply concerned about the shift, warning that it would require ‘many millions’ of extra spending by Ipsa, wiping out any other savings that were made.
Sir David with his wife Julia Arnold and his four daughters. The couple also have a son together