MPs safety fears could prevent people from entering politics

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The Tory MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, 55, said issues needed addressing to prevent more tragedy. Ms Morton said: “What we don’t want is yet another tragedy, which is why these issues need addressing for all Parliamentarians and our staff”.

“I fear that when we go through a bad patch, or when there are some of the issues around safety, it puts people off, because why would you? Yes, you have to be a strong person to be in politics but I fear it can have a negative impact.

“I think it’s about raising awareness [of MP and staff safety]. It’s about making sure that change continues because some of it is cultural as well. We have to keep abreast of changes but at the same time making sure people aren’t put off either coming to work in [Parliament] or being elected to this place.”

Sir David Amess, 69, was the second serving MP to be killed within five years when he was stabbed during a constituency surgery in 2021.

Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a gunman in 2016.

Ms Morton told how she holds surgeries by appointment only but accepted you “can’t distance yourself from the public” as an MP.

She said: “You do hear horror stories of people who have got a lot of security in their own homes, people who choose to wear stab proof vests because they obviously fear their safety when they do surgeries.

“At the end of the day, we’re a democratic and fair country. People have to have access to their MP. I do worry that if you were somebody young thinking about going into politics, maybe with young children at the time of the Jo Cox murder, would you still go on to do it? That’s the question. Which is why I am pleased that [the Speaker] Sir Lindsay Hoyle does take an interest in it.”

Sir Lindsay and then Home secretary Priti Patel ordered an audit of existing security provisions after Sir David’s murder.

As a result of the review, it was announced in April last year that tailored security advice would be provided to MPs on potential threats.

Meanwhile, in September last year, parliament began the search for a contractor which would “provide physical security services”, including close protection officers and licensed door supervisors until the end of October 2027 at a cost of £5 million.

Ms Morton said: “It’s a lot better than it was. Over a period of time, this place has realised that the handling of the security contract for MP safety at times has left something to be desired.”

“It took too long to get a catalogue of incompetence complete.”

A parliamentary staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “From an issue perspective, we’ve been constantly on a roller coaster. There always seems to be one issue that could hang your hat on because people can become quite obsessed by those particular issues.

“We’ve had people knocking at the door about this 15 minute city issue asking to come in. It doesn’t matter how much you try to reason with them.”

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