MPs advised to share taxis home amid fears of Brexit-related attacks

Written by Kevin Schofield on 21 March 2019 in News

Internal parliamentary memo raises security concerns as increasing numbers of protesters have gathered outside Westminster

Taxis in London - Matt Alexander/PA

MPs have been advised to share taxis when they leave Parliament over fears they could be attacked by angry voters over their handling of Brexit, Holyrood's sister site Politics Home has revealed.

Deputy Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the Serjeant at Arms - who is in charge of security at Parliament - had arranged for black cabs to be on hand to collect them from the Commons.

He also revealed that police around the country had been put on alert over the threat MPs now face.

Hoyle issued the grim warning in an email to all MPs just hours after Theresa May revealed she was seeking a three-month Brexit delay.

The Prime Minister said a longer Brexit delay would risk "endless hours and days of this House carrying on contemplating its navel on Europe and failing to address the issues that matter to our constituents".

Challenging MPs to back her Brexit deal, she said: "That’s what the British people deserve. They deserve better than this House has given them so far. "

In his email, Hoyle said MPs were now "the focal point of public attention in a manner that we have rarely seen before".
 
"The public is looking to us to resolve the current impasse and it is clear that tensions and emotions are running at an all-time high," he said. "This is to be expected and it is entirely proper that our constituents can express their views and even frustration - but it is essential that it is done within the law.
 
"Personally, I have never felt this level of tension during my time in the House and I am aware that other colleagues feel the same. Many colleagues have already been subject to widely publicised abuse and intimidation.

"I want to reassure you that measures are in place to allow Members - and our staff - to do our jobs safely."

He added: "Regional police forces have been contacted to ensure that they are not only aware of level of tension felt here at Westminster but in all our constituencies.

"The Metropolitan Police has been left in no doubt that it is incumbent upon the force to take a lead on ensuring Members of Parliament can vote in Parliament without fear.

"We can also take simple steps to improve our personal safety by travelling home from the House by taxi or with colleagues in the coming days. The Serjeant at Arms has made provision for black cabs to collect from within the estate.

"I remain committed to working with all colleagues to meet any security challenges as they may arise."

One MP told PoliticsHome: "Brexit has completely split the country and it seems if you don’t support Brexit you are under threat.

"This can’t be the way our country should operate and MPs should be able to feel safe leaving work and not have to take taxis to get home safely. What has this government done to our county?"

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