Reports MPs are wearing stab vests to meet constituents 'concerning', No 10 says

Reports that some MPs are wearing stab vests to constituency surgeries as they are worried about their safety in the wake of former Conservative MP Sir David Amess' murder are "concerning", Number 10 has said.

Sir David, who at the time was the MP for Southend West, was murdered at a constituency surgery in October 2021.

His death, and the murder of Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, in 2016, have both prompted the promise of stronger security for MPs.

But, over a year since Sir David's murder, Tory MP Virginia Crosbie has disclosed she has worn a stab vest to surgeries following his death.

"The decision to buy a stab vest was a serious one because I always want to be able to engage face to face with my constituents without obvious barriers," the MP for Ynys Mon in Wales told The Times.

"But not to engage or to feel unsafe were not options either."

Transport secretary tells striking rail workers to 'get off the picket line' - politics latest

Ms Crosbie also disclosed that she has security protection and feels that this is necessary in order to be able to do the job she does to the best of her ability.

"Our democracy relies on MPs being able to meet those they represent. That was my overriding reason to wear the vest," she said.

"I want to be the best MP I can. It is very sad I must, but the present climate makes it a necessity.

"I always inform the police I am having a surgery and a close protection officer is with me."

Ali Harbi Ali, who was found guilty of Sir David's murder, also researched attacking other MPs.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has previously said he and his staff had decided to wear stab vests and carry panic alarms for constituency surgeries after investigations showed that Ali undertook reconnaissance near the MP's local offices.

Amid reports of MPs wearing stab vests due to concerns about their wellbeing, Downing Street said "the safety of MPs is very important".

The PM's official spokesman added: "A great deal of work goes on on this. The government and Home Office take every appropriate measure to ensure safety."

But Conservative MP James Sunderland told The Times he feared that Sir David and Ms Cox "won't be the last".

"Heaven forbid it happens again, but it's a question of when, not if, and what we have to do is do everything in our power to prepare us for those situations," he said.

Mr Sunderland added that "politicians shouldn't be doing security" as he called for an overhaul of the security system.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and then home secretary Priti Patel ordered an audit of existing security provisions after Sir David's murder.

As a result of the review, it was announced in April last year that tailored security advice would be provided to MPs on potential threats.

Meanwhile, in September last year, parliament began the search for a contractor which would "provide physical security services" including close protection officers and licensed door supervisors until the end of October 2027 at a cost of £5m.