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Sunak Okays £ 31 Million Package To Protect UK MPs From Violent Pro-Palestine Mobs

pro-Palestine march in London

A TV grab of a recent pro-Palestine march in London

Days after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the rising prejudice and violent antisemitism in the UK post the events in Gaza as racism, Home Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday announced a £ 31 million package to protect MPs.

Condemning the hijacking of street protests by extremists who glorified terrorism, Sunak on Sunday released a statement declaring that “The explosion in prejudice and antisemitism since the Hamas attacks on the 7 October [2023] are as unacceptable as they are un-British. Simply put antisemitism is racism.”

Posting his statement on X, formerly Twitter, he said “Legitimate protests hijacked by extremists to promote and glorify terrorism, elected representatives verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted and antisemitic tropes beamed onto our own Parliament building.” He was referring to a projection which said “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” onto the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben, as MPs debated calls for a Gaza ceasefire last week.

“The government will take every possible step to safeguard the people, processes and institutions upon which our democracy relies,” Clerverly said while announcing the security package for MPs. “I take the safety and security of all members of the House with the utmost seriousness.”

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Apart from funding bodyguards and other security measures for MPs, it involves assigning a dedicated police contact for them on call 24/7.
MPs have been targeted recently by pro-Palestinian demonstrators demanding an end to the Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip following the October 7 terrorist strike on the country by Hamas terrorists, who killed around 1,200 people and took 240 hostages, many of whom were subsequently killed.

Over the past month, at least two Conservative MPs have faced the ire of these protesters. While , with Tobias Ellwood’s home was surrounded by a large number of protesters, forcing the police to request his family to stay away until they were cleared, an arson attack on the office of Mike Freer led him to announce his resignation due to safety fears. Pro-Palestine demonstrators disrupted a Conservative fundraising event last week, leading to several arrests.

Media reports quoted Conservative Stafford MP Theo Clarke as saying she carried a panic button directly linked to the police “at all times,” while Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston Preet Gill said death threats had become “a norm” in her job.
“It’s really important to get the balance right between protecting the legitimate right to protest.. alongside making sure we’re keeping MPs and their staff and their families safe,” said Labour MP James Murray.

However, Prime Minister categorically shot down a proposal to let MPs work from home like they did during the pandemic. “Some of the behaviour and the intimidation has been completely unacceptable. I don’t think anyone listening to MPs talking about their experiences in the house could fail to be moved by that,” said a spokesperson for 10 Downing Street. “However, prime minister felt it was “really important that we maintain Parliament as a place for free debate and expression of views”.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: “Over the past few weeks we’ve seen disgraceful attempts to intimidate MPs and undermine our democratic processes. That behaviour is a threat to our democracy, and toxic for our society.”

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