Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UK says will beef up security after MP killed

UK says will beef up security after MP killed

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police forensics officers were seen working at the scene of the fatal stabbing (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

UK says will beef up security after MP killed

Britain's interior minister on Sunday said security for Members of Parliament (MP) would be beefed up, after a lawmaker was stabbed to death as he held a public meeting with constituents, in the second such attack in five years.

Veteran Conservative MP David Amess, 69, was talking with voters at a church in the small town of Leigh-on-Sea, east of London, when he was killed on Friday.

The attack has spread fear among MPs, coming just over five years after the similar killing of Labour MP Jo Cox in the febrile run-up to the Brexit referendum.

Police have said they are investigating "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism". The investigation is being led by Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of security measures for lawmakers and told Sky News that "we need to close any gaps" in security provision for MPs, whose work includes regular meetings with constituents, called "surgeries".

She said police and parliamentary authorities were implementing "immediate changes and measures that are actively being put in place, and discussed with MPs".

This includes MPs sharing information on their whereabouts with police. Close protection at surgeries was also "in consideration right now", she added.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that uniformed police were guarding some surgeries following the attack, which prompted calls from some MPs for a pause in face-to-face meetings.

Police said late on Saturday that detectives had until Friday to question the suspected attacker after he was detained under the Terrorism Act, which allowed them to extend his detention.

He has not been charged.

British media, citing unnamed official sources, identified the suspect as Ali Harbi Ali.

Reports said he was a British national of Somali descent who had been referred to Prevent, the UK's official counter-terrorist scheme for those thought to be at risk of radicalisation.

Ali is believed not have spent long on the programme, which is voluntary, and was never formally a "subject of interest" to MI5, the domestic security agency, said the BBC.

The Prevent programme is currently under independent review.

"We want to ensure it [the Prevent programme] is fit for purpose, robust, doing the right thing, but importantly, learning lessons," Patel told Sky News.

Detectives said they have been carrying out searches at three addresses in the London area in a "fast-paced investigation".

Police and security services believe the suspected attacker acted alone and was "self-radicalised", The Sunday Times reported, while adding he may have been inspired by Al-Shabaab, al-Qaida-linked Islamists in Somalia.

Ali's father, named as Harbi Ali Kullane and said to be a former adviser to the prime minister of Somalia, confirmed to The Sunday Times that his son was in custody, adding: "I'm feeling very traumatised."

Patel nevertheless stressed to the BBC: "We have the best security and intelligence agencies in the world."

The government stepped up security for MPs following the 2016 murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, 41, who was shot and stabbed outside her constituency meeting near Leeds, northern England.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle in The Observer wrote that "we need to take stock" and review whether security measures introduced after Cox's murder are "adequate to safeguard members, staff and constituents, especially during surgeries".

Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative MP who tried to save a stabbed police officer during a 2017 terror attack near the Houses of Parliament, on Saturday urged a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings with constituents, until the security review is complete.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm