MPs in the UK will now be able to claim expenses for taxis from their London homes to Parliament in order to avoid abusive protestors. This decision comes as threats from activists have been on the rise.
Increased Threats Prompt Rule Relaxation
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle announced in an email to politicians that expenses rules will be temporarily relaxed starting today. This move comes as threats towards MPs have spiked, particularly in connection with the war in Israel and Gaza.
Protests and Vandalism
Over the past week, MPs have faced taunting from pro-Palestine demonstrators and have had their offices vandalized. These incidents were a result of their failure to vote for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens' Cardiff office was sprayed with the word "murderer" in red paint, while protestors gathered outside Labour MP Rushanara Ali's office, accusing her of having "blood" on her hands.
Increased Police Presence
To ensure the safety of MPs, there will now be an increased police presence around Parliament. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has already held discussions with the police to guarantee the safety of Labour politicians who voted for a prolonged humanitarian pause in the region.
In his letter to MPs, Sir Lindsay emphasized that the safety and security of all colleagues is a top priority. He also mentioned that the Metropolitan Police have agreed to extend high visibility patrols outside the parliamentary estate on sitting days, covering key access points.
The Speaker assured MPs that these matters will continue to be prioritized in the coming months with the Parliamentary Security Department.
Shadow Chancellor Slams Intimidation
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves condemned the aggression shown by Gaza activists towards MPs who voted on the ceasefire. While she supports the right to protest, she believes that crossing the line into intimidation is unacceptable.
Reeves urged protestors to conduct themselves responsibly and avoid intimidating or pressuring elected representatives.