Home Office Announces Extra £31 Million for MPs’ Security

New measures to bolster security for politicians come amid heightened security concerns following the outbreak of war in Gaza and other divisive issues.
Home Office Announces Extra £31 Million for MPs’ Security
People walk past the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament in London, on July 15, 2022. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Media)
Evgenia Filimianova

The government has announced a £31 million package to fund extra security for members of Parliament, including a dedicated police contact for safety issues involving elected politicians.

The decision comes amid heightened security concerns after the police warned Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood to stay away from his home when pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside it earlier this month.

Developments in the House of Commons also served as a trigger, after Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle made an unprecedented decision on the voting order related to a ceasefire in Gaza, out of concern for MPs’ safety.

The extra funding announcement, made by Home Secretary James Cleverly, covers a dedicated police contact for lawmakers, private security guards, and advice on cyber security for local politicians.

The Home Office said that these measures would bolster the currently available policing arrangements for MPs.

“The government will take every possible step to safeguard the people, processes, and institutions upon which our democracy relies. I take the safety and security of all members of the House with the utmost seriousness. None of us should have to accept that enduring hate crimes, harassment, or threats is part of the job,” said Mr. Cleverly.

The home secretary will continue liaising with the police to “provide elected representatives with the support they need.”

On Wednesday, he is meeting with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to discuss measures that will help “protect democratic processes from intimidation, disruption, or subversion.”

One of the new measures is a communities fund dedicated to deploying additional police patrols each week in England and Wales. This is meant to pacify “increased community tensions,” the Home Office said.

Security Threat

The outbreak of war in Gaza has added to the already existing security concerns surrounding the day-to-day work of MPs.
Government minister Mike Freer, who holds pro-Israel views and serves a predominantly Jewish constituency of Finchley and Golders Green, recently resigned over death threats from Islamic extremist groups and an arson attack on his constituency office.
Last year, environmental protesters scaled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire home. Activists also gathered outside the home of Sir Keir Starmer in December 2023 and were dispersed by the police.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat called attempts to intimidate MPs “disgraceful” and said it undermined the UK’s democratic processes.

“That behaviour is a threat to our democracy, and toxic for our society. We will do whatever is necessary to protect those who’ve been elected to represent their local communities, and to defend our democratic freedoms.” Mr. Tugendhat said.

Taking to social media platform X, the security minister added that “British voters get to decide who represents them - not the mob.”

The new measures are meant to improve security not only at politicians’ homes but also their offices.

It comes after veteran MP Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed at his constituency surgery at in Leigh-on-Sea in 2021. Islamic extremist Ali Harbi Ali was later handed a whole-life prison term for the murder of the lawmaker.
Labour MP Jo Cox, a prominent voice arguing for Britain to remain in the EU, was murdered in 2016 outside a library in the area she represented in northern England. Thomas Mair, who shot and stabbed Ms. Cox, was sentenced to life in prison.

Sir Lindsay welcomed the financial boost announced by the Home Office, calling it a “a significant step forward” that provided “much-needed reassurance for everyone involved in the democratic process.”

Veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman said on X that “no MP should be subjected to harassment and violence for doing the job they are elected to do.”

She suggested that MPs may need the option of remote working, given the level of threats against them. However, the suggestion was rejected by Downing Street, which said it was “really important that we maintain Parliament as a place for free debate and expression of views.”

PA Media contributed to this report.
Evgenia Filimianova is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in UK politics, parliamentary proceedings and socioeconomic issues.
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