Security ‘woefully inadequate’, MP says

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaking in the House of Commons (submitted). SUS-151222-153823001
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaking in the House of Commons (submitted). SUS-151222-153823001

SECURITY provision for MPs is ‘woefully inadequate’.

That is the view of one MP, in response to a survey of members of parliament which revealed four in five of those questioned had fallen victim to intrusive or aggressive behaviour.

Election count. Sir Peter Bottomley - West Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150805-130839008

Election count. Sir Peter Bottomley - West Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150805-130839008

The survey saw reports of death threats, stalking and physical attacks experienced while carrying out their duties.

A recommendation from psychiatrists called for members to be given greater protection.

Writing in the Observer East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said: “The security protection for MPs is woefully inadequate and just because we have lots of police with guns in Westminster doesn’t mean we are safe wherever we go.”

The survey was published in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, gathering responses from 239 of 633 MPs.

It revealed 36 per cent were fearful of going out in public and 38 per cent reported being stalked, while others had been threatened with a hammer, ‘hit by a brick’ and attacked with a samurai sword.

Worthing West’s Sir Peter Bottomley said MPs should not expect to be entirely safe but colleagues should not worry too much. He said: “People treat me with more respect than I deserve for which I am grateful but if anyone is unkind to me, I try to reply with courtesy.”

Mr Loughton said some consituents believed they had a ‘divine right’ to be rude and said he had a ‘few people on a blacklist’ that he would not engage with.

Speaking to the Herald, he said MPs should be treated with respect, regardless of differences of opinion.

He said: “Very few find it necessary to resort to abuse when seeking my help or wanting to impress their views on me, with a few high profile exceptions. many of my colleagues have not been so lucky having been the target of physical violence, damage to their property or intimidation even to other family members.

“That has no place in our society whatever the difference in our views on policies or whatever side of the political divide we come from.”