UK Intelligence Agency Raises Threat Level to Lawmakers Following Killing of MP

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
October 21, 2021 Updated: October 21, 2021

The threat level to Members of Parliament (MP) is now deemed “substantial,” the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Wednesday.

Patel told MPs that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), a branch of the MI5, raised the threat level following an independent review conducted after the killing of Sir David Amess.

The 69-year-old MP for Southend West was fatally stabbed on Oct. 15 while meeting local voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, marking the second fatal attack on a sitting British lawmaker in their constituency in the last five years.

David Amess with his pugs
Conservative MP David Amess with his pugs, Lily and Boat at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition at Victoria Tower Gardens in London on Oct. 10, 2013. (Geoff Caddick/PA via AP)

Patel said there’s currently no information or intelligence that points to any credible, specific, or imminent threat, but she urged MPs to take the “change in risk seriously.”

It was understood MPs will now be contacted over how their security arrangements may be altered.

MPs are urged not to mention the details to the media or the public.

Patel assured MPs that the security and intelligence agencies and counter-terror police will ensure the change is “properly reflected in their operational posture,” and urged MPs to make use of the resources available to them to ensure their safety and the safety of their staff and the public.

She said that the security of other elected representatives, such as councilors, will also be reviewed.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at Downing Street, London, on Sept. 15, 2021. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Speaking on Parliament on Thursday, House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said MPs want “very clear advice” on their safety.

“I think advice bordering on instruction is what we are looking for because there are many forms of safety available to members but they don’t necessarily all know what they are,” he said.

The Commons leader also said MPs would like to know “what the real level of risk is.”

“I don’t feel that that is yet clear, and that may take some time to become clear, but it needs to be communicated to members with all the support that is also available,” he said.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes said on Thursday that the Met would continue to work with the Parliament security team, the Home Office, and individual MPs about their security arrangements.

Also on Thursday, 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali was charged with murder and preparation of terrorist acts in relation to the death of Amess.

Ali appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, but only spoke to confirm his name, address, and date of birth during the short hearing.

Prosecutors allege Ali was affiliated with the ISIS terrorist group and targeted Amess over the MP’s voting record in support of airstrikes on Syria.

The court also heard that he allegedly settled on a plot to kill an MP two years ago, focusing on two MPs other than Amess.

He is said to have carried out reconnaissance at one of their homes, the surgery of another, and the Houses of Parliament.

PA contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.