MPs Consider Constituency Surgery Security Measures

Debate this morning is turning to the security measures employed by MPs. Colleagues note that Jox Cox’s constituency surgery at Birstall Library yesterday was an “open surgery”. The time, date and location were advertised on her website:

Thursday 16th June – 1pm until 2pm

@ Birstall Library and Information Centre

Market Street, Birstall, WF17 9EN

Some MPs already refuse to hold open surgeries and do not publish times and locations, instead requiring constituents to make an appointment before they are given details. Expect more to follow – MPs tell Guido they want some level of vetting or checking of names against the electoral roll. This is a difficult square to circle – accessibility to MPs is important at a time when the public feel politicians are ever more out of touch. It makes Jo Cox’s openness all the more admirable…

If you speak to any MP, especially female MPs, they will have stories about intimidation and aggression they have faced at constituency surgeries. Most MPs will have had to get the police involved at some point. Guido has lost count of the number of staffers who have had physical altercations with lunatics at surgeries. One MP tells Guido that US Congressman are given police protection and they feel British MPs – particularly women MPs – should too. It is a crazy world, there will always be nutters in every constituency who harass MPs and their staff in person. It is difficult to legislate for – but expect new measures to be brought in following yesterday’s events…




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Quote of the Day

Brendan O’Neill on the coverage of Jo Cox’s murder:

“I don’t have very high expectations of the British media. But even I am shocked at the speed with which sections of it have sought to make political mileage from Jo Cox’s death. Pro-Remain journalists, swathes of the broadsheet set, are already discussing her death as a consequence of Brexit campaigning, as a foul spin-off of foul politics. They’re saying that of course Brexiteers aren’t directly responsible, but… that wretched “but”, which means “but they are responsible”. Remainers are already pointing a collective finger at the “political climate” cultivated by Brexit and suggesting it nurtured this murder. I thought they would wait, a day perhaps, before marshalling this tragedy to their cause. But no.

Politically exploiting a murder, morally blackmailing Brexiteers to tone down their campaign, and inadvertently diminishing the culpability of the killer by suggesting “the climate” bears some responsibility for what he did — I think it’s possible the British media has just reached a new low, the lowest low.”

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