Every UK MP is being contacted by the police today to discuss how to increase security measures in the wake of the killing of Sir David Ames.
Officials will discuss equipment already available to lawmakers, such as panic buttons and key-fob-style emergency alarms in the office, and security arrangements for public events in the coming days.
The move comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered a review of the security of MPs, sparking intense debate over the balance between security for elected representatives and public access.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood – who came to the aid of a police officer killed in a terroristic incident in Westminster in 2017 – has said lawmakers should stop face-to-face surgery while the review is done, instead. Components must be met through Internet video services.
And senior Conservative backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin said that all future meetings with constituents should be held online, arguing that there was no justification for spending police resources on protecting open door incidents, which he said “were not really really necessary”.
But the Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced a planned surgery on Friday evening, saying: “We cannot afford to sabotage democracy. No one will defeat democracy.”
Harriet Herman, one of the most senior lawmakers in the House of Commons, wrote to Boris Johnson today asking for a cross-party speaker’s conference call to investigate the security of lawmakers outside Westminster.
Ms Herman said within five years a change in political practices was needed after two MPs were killed in constituency surgery – Sir David in Essex and Joe Cox of Battle & Spence in West Yorkshire.
“We cannot afford the death of an MP who deserves to pay the price for our democracy,” he said.
“All MPs value that relationship with their constituency. That’s why we are different from other democracies – we don’t go in armored cars and only meet in secure offices in the presence of the police. We are out and about with our constituents, which is not only – we feel – important to them, but it is also important for us to maintain a connection and understanding.
“But I think with the second death of an MP in just five years, we have to consider how we turn things around. Nobody wants MPs to go into hiding, but we have to agree to do it safely.”
Speakers’ conferences are rare political events that occur only once in a decade or less, appointed by the Prime Minister and chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, to address the fundamental issues of electoral democracy for all parties and the public. Bringing together senior figures of officials’ representatives. . Earlier conventions have dealt with issues such as the vote for women and ethnic minority representation.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /