New Forest East



[Dr Julian Lewis rose –

Mr Speaker: Before I call Dr Lewis, let me say that, with the Home Secretary, we will be sending a letter to all Members of the House with a further update and we will try to keep the House informed as much as possible. I reassure the House that meetings between each of our offices have been going forward continuously to ensure that we are doing the right thing by everybody. I would add this to what the Home Secretary said. You are being contacted about doing service. Please do not do this because that gives information we do not want to give. The other part of that is: what will happen to the data that you are giving? It puts not just you at risk, but others at risk.]

Dr Lewis: May I draw particular attention to the wise words of the Home Secretary in what I think was her penultimate point about the discussion of security measures that MPs decide they will or will not take? Most right hon. and hon. Members have ideas about ways in which their security can be improved. It is very unwise – is it not, Mr Speaker? – for us to state what those ideas are in public. I am sure that, like me, every Member present in the Chamber was contacted by local and national media asking, “How are you going to proceed in future? Are you going to continue with face-to-face surgeries? What changes will you make to your arrangements?” Does the Home Secretary agree that it is quite inappropriate for the media to ask such questions, and it is quite counterproductive, and indeed self-endangering, for us to answer them?

[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Priti Patel): I thank my right hon. Friend for his observation and comments, as well for as his question. This has been a sombre week for all of us in this House  – it really has. We have lost colleagues through the most appalling attacks, first Jo Cox, and then Sir David Amess. It is not for us to be publicly discussing security measures at all. As the House has already heard me say, I urge all hon. Members, for the sake of protecting the public, our staff and our functioning democracy, to respect some of the parameters that we are speaking about now. We must also respect the fact that, to carry on in our roles as elected representatives, we have to take advice that should not be in the public domain – advice that we listen to and that will effectively shape our own behaviours. That will lead to greater public protection from safeguarding and security. We all have a responsibility to follow the words of my right hon. Friend and be very conscientious about what we say when it comes to security.]