COPS could stand guard outside constituency surgeries to protect MPs after Sir David Amess's murder, Priti Patel said today.
The Home Secretary's comments came after Sir David, 69, was knifed during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday.
Cops could stand guard outside constituency surgeries to protect MPs after Sir David Amess's murder, Priti Patel said Credit: Sky News
Sir David was killed during a constituency surgery on Friday
She told Sky's Trevor Phillips: “The speaker has already put in a range of measures post-Friday but there are other measures being considered – including officers or security during surgeries.
“There is a lot of work that has taken place already, with policing in constituency… these are immediate changes that are being discussed with MPs right now.
“MPs have already been contacted by local police forces asking what they're doing, checking their actual physical security, these are one-on-one conversations that are taking place.”
Asked if MPs could receive the level of close protection they receive in Westminster she said: “All these issues and options are in consideration right now.”
She added: “There is a lot of work taking place already.”
She said councillors are “out there every single day, to preserve and protect, you know that very essence of our democracy”.
“We should, rightly, our elected representatives need to be able to go around with confidence – with confidence that they are safe and secure in the work they are doing.”
She said “there are practical measures” being taken around the safety of MPs and politicians.
She gave as examples: “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.
“I could go on – there are other things, linked to policing and security as well.
“There are things already in place but I'm now very much, and Lindsay Hoyle the Speaker of the House and I, with the police, and with others as well, we need to close any gaps basically where we feel that there are concerns.”
Ms Patel said many MPs would be “reflecting” upon their own constituency interactions and safety this weekend.
“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.
“But what I would say is that a lot has changed.”
Ms Patel said the murder of Jo Cox was an “intensive period” for MPs when it came to thinking about their own safety, adding: “We have all changed our ways of working because of changing concerns, threats in society.”
“This should never ever break that link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them.”
TRAIN TO ATTACK
It comes as the man being held over Sir David's death was last night named as Ali Harbi Ali. Witnesses said he appeared “dead behind the eyes” after the attack.
The killer of Sir David travelled 50 miles by train to murder him – and apparently had told the MP's staff that he had recently moved to the area.
Security sources told The Mail on Sunday that Ali planned his murderous attack more than a week in advance.
Counter-terror cops believe he boarded a service in London to carry out the lone wolf attack.
He is believed to have waived his right to silence on arrest and is said to have admitted fatally stabbing dad-of-five Sir David 17 times at his constituency surgery at a church hall.
Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and Priti Patel pay their respects to Sir David Amess at Belfairs Methodist Church Credit: EPA
David Amess discusses the impact of his job on his and family and personal life