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Amid increasing apprehensions regarding the safety of Members of Parliament (MPs), Chancellor Rishi Sunak has indicated that the notion of supplying bodyguards for MPs is actively being contemplated. This decision comes in the wake of Conservative MP Mike Freer’s announcement to step down at the next election, citing death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office as significant factors.

As detailed by the Mirror, during an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Sunak expressed his openness to exploring this idea, particularly in response to the distressing incidents faced by Mike Freer. He underscored the severity of the threats and the arson attack on Freer’s office, emphasizing the necessity for individuals entering public service to do so without constant concerns about their safety, reported The Sun.

Sunak acknowledged that certain high-profile MPs, including the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, and Northern Ireland Secretary, already benefit from routine protection officers. However, he stressed the broader issue of MPs’ safety, indicating that security measures at the Houses of Parliament are under continuous review.

Delving into the root causes of such threatening behavior, Sunak emphasized the critical need to examine the ideologies driving extremist actions. He underscored the importance of preventing extremist ideologies from taking root in communities and on the streets, emphasizing the equal significance of addressing the underlying causes.

When prompted about the potential provision of personal security guards for MPs, Sunak admitted there might be a valid argument for it. However, he clarified that the ultimate decision rests with the security services and the police. Sunak shared his gratitude for having an “incredible team” of protection officers ensuring his safety, recounting an incident when protesters gathered outside his home, leaving him feeling vulnerable.

Expressing concern for the safety of his own family, Sunak emphasized the broader goal of creating a secure society. He articulated his focus on increasing the number of police officers on the streets and granting them the necessary powers to confiscate weapons, particularly knives. Additionally, he highlighted the significance of implementing measures such as CCTV and street lighting to ensure the safety of individuals, especially women, when walking home at night.

Sunak’s comments come at a time when the safety of MPs has become a pressing issue, with incidents of threats and attacks raising alarm within the political sphere. The contemplation of providing bodyguards for MPs is part of a larger conversation about balancing public service with personal safety for those elected to represent the public.

As discussions unfold, the potential deployment of bodyguards for MPs will likely undergo careful consideration by security services, law enforcement, and parliamentary authorities. The overarching goal is to strike a balance between safeguarding the democratic process and ensuring the safety of individuals dedicated to public service in the face of evolving security challenges.

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