You may have noticed in the media over the last few days, that the court case against the man accused of murdering Sir David Amess has now concluded. My thoughts remain with Sir David’s family, friends and staff at what remains an incredibly difficult time for them.
The media already reported back in October that the accused had two other targets - sadly I was one of them.
The police have confirmed that the accused came to my constituency office in Finchley, armed with the intent to harm me. I had an advertised advice surgery that day, but at the last minute my plans had to change, so I was no longer in the office.
As a result of the police investigation, I have been unable to share this information more publicly until now. Due to the seriousness of the incident and the risk to my staff, my family and myself, I have had to introduce new security measures based on the advice of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office. New physical measures at the office and my home have been put in place. Further, new procedures have been put in place for advice surgeries.
With regard to advice surgeries at my office, attendees will be asked to have some ID that confirms their address in the constituency. Also, the way I undertake community-based advice surgeries in supermarkets, local libraries and on the street will have to be adapted, with extra security precautions taken by my team. Those of you who have seen the old mobile home I use as a mobile advice surgery, will still see it being used. Sadly, the ability to have more private conversations inside will have to stop, as there is no safe escape route.
Having had run-ins with radicalized groups and other incidents in the past, I have had to accept that this is part of being an MP. Advice surgeries are an integral part of our system and I do not wish to stop having them. I love the face-to-face engagement and the robust exchange of views with my constituents, but I do have to take sensible precautions to protect my staff and I.
I hope that constituents will understand why these new procedures are necessary.