The Home Secretary said security measures would be put in place to ensure MPs can continue to meet their constituents safely after the murder of Tory politician Sir David Amess.
A former minister has called for face-to-face meetings to be suspended pending a security review after longtime MP Sir David was fatally stabbed on Friday while meeting with voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend.
But Priti Patel said it was possible to strike a balance between the security of MPs and carrying out the democratic process in person, as she urged elected officials not to be “intimidated” by those who threaten to ” prevent us from functioning “.
A number of deputies posted on social media on Saturday the events in their constituencies as they showed their support for the Home Minister’s message that political work must be allowed to continue in broad daylight.
Ms Patel, who laid flowers at the site of Sir David’s murder alongside the Prime Minister, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Saturday morning, told broadcasters: ‘We are open to interventions surgical procedures, doing our job. We will continue to do so.
“That is why action is underway right now – I called meetings yesterday, I was with the Speaker of the House, as well as the police and our security services to make sure that all the measures are put in place for the security of the deputies so that they can exercise their functions of elected Democrats.
His comments come after Tobias Ellwood, a former Tory Defense Minister, said physical meetings with voters should be suspended while MPs await the outcome of the Home Secretary’s appeal to law enforcement to review security arrangements.
Local police forces contact each MP to discuss their personal safety and the safety of any event they plan to attend.
Commons Defense Committee chairman, who has been hailed as a hero for his attempts to save PC’s life Keith Palmer in the Westminster terror attack, tweeted that there was “enormous anxiety among deputies now ”.
“Until the Home Secretary’s review of MPs’ security is completed, I would recommend a temporary break in face-to-face meetings,” he said.
But former Cabinet Minister David Davis said the suspension of public meetings with MPs would be “a terrible reflection of what David stood for.”
He told Sky News: “Of course we should be careful, maybe we should do things to make sure that the people who come to us are in good faith, but I think a break would be a bad idea. .
“It would be a terrible reflection of what David stood for – David himself was the ultimate constituency MP.”
Meanwhile, Harriet Harman, the longest serving MP, said she would write to the prime minister urging him to support a conference of presidents to consider what needs to change to ensure the safety of parliamentarians in their constituencies.
Speaking to the BBC, the Labor veteran said: “We cannot make the death of an MP a price to pay for our democracy.”
She added, “I don’t think anyone wants to be in a situation where the police are controlling individual voters who come to see us, but I’m sure there is a safer way to go about our business.
“Since the tragic murder of Jo Cox we have had changes in the security of our home, we have had changes in the security in Parliament, but we have not considered how we proceed with this important matter in our constituency, but not safely – and I think we have to do it now. “
Conservative MP Kevin Foster, who represents Torbay, said it was “impractical” to have airport-style security in MPs’ offices.
Defense Secretary James Heappey, Tory MP for Wells, echoed the sentiment, telling the PA News Agency: “Security adjustments might be needed, but nothing can fundamentally change: these surgeries are the foundations on which service as a Member is provided.
Tory Harrow East MP Bob Blackman said he and his colleagues would now be wary of what to do after Sir David’s death, but former universities minister Chris Skidmore – who represents Kingswood constituency – said it was always “absolutely natural for me to continue to host events in person.”
This sentiment has been reflected on the benches of the Labor Party, with Hull East MP Karl Turner opposing verification of who elected officials see and that politicians must accept that there is a risk associated with their work.
“I think you can do whatever you can do, but if a knife-wielding maniac breaks into your room, what can you do about it?” He told PA.
“I think you have to take the risk.
“I don’t pretend to be some sort of hero, far from it, but I think it’s a very bad deal if you can’t see your MP.”
Former shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has said she will support rallying voters behind a screen to avoid possible stabbing attacks, but she has also rallied around “filtering at the way of an airport “.
“I’d rather go ahead and meet with voters behind a screen, like we have now for Covid and so on – it could be pretty complicated to organize but at least you know someone isn’t just going to show up. lean over the desk and stab yourself which could happen now, ”she told the BBC.