LONDON — Politicians warned that parliament’s security was so weak that it put the police at risk — a month before the London attack which saw one officer stabbed to death by a terrorist named as Khalid Masood.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, MPs and police raised concerns that the crowd-control barriers in front of the iron gates that lead to the entrance of parliament were “flimsy” and a “weak point.”
“There were concerns about security issues in all sorts of ways. As far as I’m concerned the present gates are flimsy and made of Meccano,” Tory MP Sir Paul Beresford. Meccano is a form of model construction for toys.
“We wanted something that can be operated more easily by the police that will also stop pedestrians. At present two police officers have to open them out, they aren’t armed. Therefore they are at risk. You can just push past them.”
Six people have died, including PC Keith Palmer who was a 48-year-old husband and father with 15 years’ service, as well as the attacker.
The suspect was identified as Khalid Masood — a 52-year-old father of three children.
Several MPs reiterated their concerns to the Telegraph after the attacks:
Cross-bench peer Lord Carlile — “We may have to look at the new traffic arrangements around Westminster, which have changed in the last few months and opened up a wide new cycle lane along which this vehicle travelled uninterrupted.”
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake — “My personal concerns about the Carriage Gates is that this is clearly the weakest link. It is a vulnerable point where MPs, peers and other staff can gain vehicular access to the palace in a way that could allow people to gain access on foot via that route. You may have to stop that being a vehicular access so all vehicles come through Black Rod’s entrance [at the House of Lords].”
One unnamed senior MP — “One of the slight issues is that we have had car security suitable for terrorist incidents by the IRA. You need a double gate. It is awfully easy to climb over the top.”
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