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SPOKE OUT: MP’s react to private security proposals

SPOKE OUT: MP’s react to private security proposals

Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead, Image: LDRS

Two North East MP’s have spoke out after a senior Conservative politician suggested that private security could be added to constituency events.
This comes after  the Mirror reported MPs are to be offered more private security guards for their constituency events after the murder of Sir David Amess last Friday.

Justice Secretary and ex-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested private security is the most “likely” option, rather than police, on Monday.

Mr Raab said he would not stand in the way of any MP, including female MPs, who wanted a police presence at surgeries.

But the Justice Secretary warned: “We don’t want a wedge to be placed between us and constituents.”

This fear was echoed by Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who described it as a “difficult dilemma”.

“I really do feel that this is a difficult dilemma facing publicly elected officials of all kinds,” he said.
“Of course we want to be accessible for our constituents and we all need to be reviewing our security arrangements and where necessary being able to access additional measures, to protect Staff and our constituents.
“Prior to the pandemic I held regular open access advice surgeries where constituents could come along and wait their turn to see me and members of my casework staff. In doing so they were often in a crowded waiting room but no one was turned away, but sadly the pandemic put paid to that.
“One of the main duties that an MP can and must do is to listen to their constituents concerns, complaints and frustrations and to try to get solutions for their problems.
“I have continued to meet constituents, on line, during the pandemic but my office facilities, currently, make face to face meetings quite difficult and we are searching for solutions to that.
“The sad death of Sir David Amess has once again reminded us of the potential dangers, inherent, within our role.”

Mary Foy, MP for City of Durham, said that any in person events she is involved in will be “thoroughly risk assessed” with advice sought from Durham Constabulary.

She said “The tragic murder of Sir David Amess MP last week has naturally left MPs, their staff and of course, their constituents, incredibly shaken. It is only natural that people might be concerned as to whether they’ll be safe meeting with their MP at the moment, however I plan to keep in place the virtual arrangements I have used for the last 18 months during which I have carried out meetings, surgeries and public events via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

“Any in person events I hold in the future will always be thoroughly risk assessed and advice will be sought from Durham Constabulary as to whether additional security measures may be necessary.

“They are also sent information relating to my constituency whereabouts so I am confident that, for the time being, the security of my team and I is being adequately addressed.”

Southend will become a city in honour of Sir David, Boris Johnson has confirmed, paying tribute to the Tory MP who had been a long-time committed campaigner for his area to gain the status, the Guardian reported.

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Demcoracy Reporter


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