Lisa Nandy says she carries a police alarm, as fears rise about MPs’ safety

A shadow cabinet minister has spoken about how she carries a police alarm with her everywhere amid heightened concerns over the security of politicians.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy, the shadow international development secretary, has spoken about the extra security precautions she has had to take, including only seeing her constituents by appointment.

Speaking to Times Radio, Nandy said: “Instead of doing publicly advertised surgeries, we now do them by appointment. We have security present. I carry a police alarm everywhere that I go. I have security on my home.

“And that is a really very typical experience for members of parliament … I went to a party meeting just last week and had people gathering around the entrance of that, shouting ‘genocide’ and accusing me and others of committing genocide.

“We’ve had a couple of senior members of the shadow cabinet surrounded by people as they were going about canvassing, being filmed on their phones, and very aggressive comments about their own families. There was the Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who had people outside of his home.”

Several MPs across the Commons have spoken about the increase in abuse and threats since the outbreak of war in the Middle East in October. The Sunday Times reported that three female MPs have been given taxpayer-funded bodyguards and cars. The women, who include both Labour and Tory MPs, had their security upgraded after a risk assessment.

Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, revealed on Sunday that he had received death threats and said that MPs got them “routinely”, telling Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “I think it’s sadly the case that many members have been threatened and, indeed, that has been the case in relation to me as well.

“All of us, unfortunately, face threats of violence, death threats and so on, in varying degrees. I’ve never had one that has been of the most serious nature, but we routinely receive these kinds of threats,” Dowden added.

Rishi Sunak said MPs had been “verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted” in recent weeks as protests were “hijacked by extremists to promote and glorify terrorism”. The prime minister added that it was “the latest in an emerging pattern which should not be tolerated”.

Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, has come under pressure after he broke with protocol last week to allow votes on three separate propositions from the three main parties relating to a ceasefire in Gaza.

Some Conservative and Scottish National party MPs have called for the speaker to resign over the decision, which ultimately benefited Labour by allowing it to dodge a difficult vote. By the end of the week 71 MPs had put their names to a motion expressing no confidence in Hoyle, and the SNP’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, publicly said he thought Hoyle should go.

An emotional Hoyle told MPs on Wednesday he had taken his decision because he was fearful of an attack on MPs. “I don’t ever want to go through the situation of picking up a phone to find that a friend, of whatever side, has been murdered by terrorists,” he said. “I also don’t want another attack on this house.”

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On Sky, Dowden refused to back Hoyle and said “the speaker has serious questions to answer about what happened and that’s what the leader of the house will be asking about on Monday”.

The SNP is now pushing for a so-called “meaningful vote” on a ceasefire in Gaza and has written to Keir Starmer and Ed Davey inviting them to discussions about its wording.

The SNP is proposing parliament mandates the UK government to use its position on the UN security council to vote for an immediate ceasefire, and follow the advice of independent UN experts to halt all transfers of military equipment and technology, including components, to Israel, and to suspend the issuing of new licences.

Flynn said: “After the shameful scenes at Westminster last week, it’s vital the UK parliament urgently focuses on what really matters, doing everything we can to help secure an immediate ceasefire and lasting peace in Gaza and Israel.”

The party claims its actions “forced” Starmer to do a U-turn on his opposition to calling for an immediate ceasefire and said MPs must “work together” to get Sunak to do the same.


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