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Police could guard MP surgeries to keep them safe, Priti Patel says

It comes after Conservative MP David Amess was stabbed to death at a meeting with constituents on Friday.

Essex Police chief Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour leader Keir Starmer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel carry flowers as they arrive at the scene in Leigh-on-Sea where MP David Amess died
Essex Police chief Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour leader Keir Starmer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel carry flowers as they arrive at the scene in Leigh-on-Sea where MP David Amess died
Image: Dominic Lipinski via PA Images

Updated Oct 17th 2021, 11:47 AM

POLICE COULD BE called in to guard MP surgeries to keep them safe following the murder of David Amess at a constituency event, the UK Home Secretary has said.

Priti Patel said “protection” for MPs while they are holding talks with constituents was one of the options being considered under a “whole spectrum” of measures to address safety concerns in the wake of the Southend West MP’s killing on Friday.

It came as Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy admitted she did not feel safe when going about her Wigan constituency and said she was not sure that the situation was “recoverable” for public servants, following the killing of two serving MPs in the past five years.

Conservative Amess, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times in a frenzied attack.

His death comes after the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered in 2016 as she was on her way to a constituency surgery.

Patel said discussions were underway with MPs about extra measures that might be required, with each representative contacted by their local police force since the attack in Essex.

The Cabinet minister told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that the options being considered included that “when you hold your surgeries, could you have officers or some kind of protection while you’re holding your surgery?”

MPs could also be asked to share their whereabouts at all times with the police in a bid to keep them free from harm, she said.

Asked if she would consider airport-style security, Patel said: “That would be with the police and the House authorities. There are lots of things under consideration already.”

It came as police searches thought to be related to the investigation of Amess’ murder continued today.

At least three officers wearing blue gloves were seen working inside a flat in a converted property in Kentish Town, north London, this morning.

A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene of the attack in Essex on suspicion of murder. He has since been detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and is in custody at a London police station.

A warrant of further detention, which allows detectives to hold the man until 22 October, was granted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

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The name the police have for the suspect is Ali Harbi Ali, the PA news agency understands.

Official sources told PA he is believed to be a British national with Somali heritage

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