LONDON — MPs spent more than £640,000 ($789,318) on security measures in the months following the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox in June — quadruple the amount spent in the whole 12 months previously.
Cox was fatally shot and stabbed outside a library in her Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, where she was about to hold a surgery. 52-year-old Thomas Mair has been charged with her murder, and is currently standing trial.
Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request by the Daily Mail show that spending from June 16, when Cox was killed, to October 24, was £637,791.63.
The figure for the whole of 2015/16 was just £160,023.
There is a general feeling among MPs that they are increasingly vulnerable on various fronts, and that their security provisions are insufficient. They are reportedly worried about aggressive members of the public, terrorist threats, and misogynistic abuse directed towards female politicians.
Labour MP Jess Phillips said that following Cox’s killing she has been subject to and continues to receive constant online abuse, and feels “constantly at risk” from members of the public. She said that she had asked police to attend her constituency meetings.
Pro-Brexit Tory MP Peter Bone also said on Friday that he had been sent death threats since the June referendum, and had called 999 on three separate occasions.
Senior figures at parliament have complained about underfunding from IPSA, the parliamentary watchdog, and about a lack of support from local police forces, according to the Mail.
66 MPs were granted “enhanced” security measures during the period, meaning the police believe they are at heightened risk of attack.
IPSA announced the “enhanced” option back in January, and only 22 had been issued until Cox’s death, but the number of applications had rocketed since then.
The Daily Mail also reported last month that the House of Commons will recruit a personal security specialist to offer MPs and their staff “tailored practical advice” to keep safe when they are not within the relative safety of the House of Commons.
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