UK Boosts MPs’ Security Amid Tensions Over Gaza | World News

UK Boosts MPs' Security Amid Tensions Over Gaza | World News

LONDON: UK govt announced a multi-million-pound package on Wednesday to boost the security of elected lawmakers who say they face increasing threats amid tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.
The £31 million ($39 million) in extra funding over the next year follows British MPs being targeted with intense criticism and abuse over their stances on the conflict. It also comes during a febrile, pre-poll atmosphere, with a nationwide vote due this year.
Under the new provisions, lawmakers will have access to a dedicated police contact to discuss security while those most at risk could seek bodyguards, interior ministry said.The money will also expand cybersecurity advice to MPs and increase police patrols in areas witnessing heightened community tensions, it added.
“None of us should have to accept that enduring hate crimes, harassment, or threats is part of the job,” interior minister James Cleverly said.
British MPs have expressed growing concerns about their safety following a surge in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents since the conflict in Gaza broke out on Oct 7.
PM Rishi Sunak said they had been “verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted”, with “legitimate protests hijacked by extremists”.
Conservative MP Mike Freer, who represents a large Jewish area, is not seeking re-election because of a spate of threats and an arson attack on his office. Earlier this month, fellow Tory Tobias Ellwood said 80 pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered outside his home, with police warning his family to “stay away” to avoid antagonising the crowd. Last week, Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle cited threats to lawmakers as a reason for his controversial handling of a debate about calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
MPs have received death threats, with female MPs also being threatened with rape. Some now wear stab-proof vests, carry alarms and have hired bodyguards.

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