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Three female MPs given bodyguards as safety fears grow

Three female MPs have been given bodyguards and chauffeur-driven cars amid growing concern about politicians' safety.

It comes after a risk assessment by an organisation that helps protect the Royal Family and the prime minister.

RAVEC (the Royal and VIP Executive Committee) conducted the review after a recent increase in the threat level faced by MPs.

There are fears politicians could be targeted by extremists because of the Israel-Hamas war.

Private security staff and other measures, such as panic alarms, are in place at constituency surgeries and homes of other MPs believed to be at risk.

The three female MPs given bodyguard protection include both Tory and Labour members.

As part of Operation Bridger - a programme to protect MPs - police now email every week to get an itinerary of their whereabouts and any public events.

The initiative began after the murders of Labour's Jo Cox in 2016, and Conservative MP Sir David Amess in 2021.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner told Sky News this month she no longer goes out socially because of threats and abuse.

Ms Rayner and a colleague recently had to be escorted from a fundraiser that was interrupted by protesters angry at Labour's stance on Gaza.

One MP - who's had death threats themselves - told Sky News: "We are all getting this - it's become normal for most controversial votes now."

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In 2022, Tory MP Mike Freer said he would start wearing a stab vest and carrying a panic alarm when meeting the public.

Operation Bridger was also triggered this month at the home of Bournemouth MP Tobias Ellwood.

Mr Elwood told Sky News that between 60 and 80 people gathered outside - some with signs claiming he is "complicit in genocide" - while his children were indoors.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat and policing minister Chris Philp have urged police to use "robust" measures to tackle protesters who "intimidate and harass" MPs.

"The intimidation of democratically elected representatives is unacceptable," their letter said.

"It's important that our elected representatives are able to feel safe in their homes, free from fear and harassment."