In Brief

Security costs to keep MPs safe rise by £4m post-Brexit

Heightened security measures follow divisive Brexit referendum and terrorist threats

The cost of security to keep MPs safe around Westminster increased by more than £4 million between 2015 and 2018, partly due to the divisive Brexit debate, a new report claims.

Security costs leapt from £171,000 to £4.5 million in three years according to the latest Parliamentary Monitoring report by the Institute for Government think tank. 

The report says “deeply divisive debates” about British military involvement in Syria in late 2015 led to a recommendation from the National Police Chiefs’ Council that all MPs “adopt a standard package of security measures”.

The report also states that the “reality of the threat” to parliamentarians was “tragically” made clear by the murder of Labour MP Jox Cox in 2016 EU referendum campaign. 

Cox was murdered in her Batley and Spen constituency by a far-right extremist who shouted “this is for Britain” and “keep Britain independent” as he shot and then stabbed the MP.

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The report also highlights how the 2017 terror attack on Westminster, in which six people were killed, “further underlined the importance of security measures”. PC Keith Palmer lost his life in the attack, during which Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood was pictured administering CPR to the police officer.

As well as pointing to a number of key events that increased costs around MPs’ safety, the report states that “Brexit, combined with minority government, had a profound and detrimental effect on the relationship between the government and parliament, and pushed parliamentary procedure to its limit”.

The report says that while costs have fallen since 2018, they are still significantly higher than pre-2015 spending.

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