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James Cleverly: Police must use their powers to protect MPs – the only fear they must face… is the ballot box


  • Home Secretary said senior officers have the Government’s backing 

Police officers must use existing powers to protect MPs from protesters, the Home Secretary said yesterday.

James Cleverly said politicians should ‘only fear the ballot box’ as he condemned demonstrators who target MPs’ homes.

He added that security minister Tom Tugendhat had written to chief constables urging them to step up after the Dorset home of Tory MP Tobias Ellwood was targeted by a pro-Palestinian group earlier this month.

Mr Cleverly’s predecessor Suella Braverman was fired last year for writing a newspaper article suggesting the police apply a ‘double standard’ in their approach to Left- and Right-wing protesters.

‘I’m very conscious that there has been increased pressure on members of Parliament,’ Mr Cleverly said. ‘Tom Tugendhat wrote to chief constables last week outlining… the powers that we expect them to use to keep elected people safe.’

Police officers must use existing powers to protect MPs from protesters, Home Secretary James Cleverly (pictured) said yesterday

Police officers must use existing powers to protect MPs from protesters, Home Secretary James Cleverly (pictured) said yesterday

The Dorset home of Tory MP Tobias Ellwood (pictured) was targeted by a pro-Palestinian group earlier this month

The Dorset home of Tory MP Tobias Ellwood (pictured) was targeted by a pro-Palestinian group earlier this month

Mr Cleverly told Sky News it was nonsense for protesters to deny they were seeking to intimidate MPs, adding: 'The only thing that MPs should fear is the ballot box' (pictured: protestors at Mr Ellwood's family home)

Mr Cleverly told Sky News it was nonsense for protesters to deny they were seeking to intimidate MPs, adding: ‘The only thing that MPs should fear is the ballot box’ (pictured: protestors at Mr Ellwood’s family home)

The MP for Braintree in Essex, Mr Cleverly wants senior officers to ‘understand that they have our backing when they use those powers’.

He told Sky News it was nonsense for protesters to deny they were seeking to intimidate MPs, adding: ‘The only thing that MPs should fear is the ballot box.’

However, the Government’s political violence tsar has called for new police powers to disperse protests in some locations. Lord Walney, known as John Woodcock when he sat as an MP, said: ‘We ought to be looking at those sites that are crucial to the functioning of democracy on a national or local level, like MPs’ offices, like local council chambers, like Parliament itself’. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, the peer called for ‘an easier and a faster process’ for police to ‘disperse [protests] more quickly, which is clearly not happening at the moment’.

A forthcoming report by Lord Walney will propose legislating for democratic sites to have protest ‘buffer zones’ – similar to those around abortion clinics. This month the Home Office unveiled plans to toughen public order powers, with new measures making it easier for police to remove road-blocking demonstrators; criminalising climbing on war memorials; and banning masks and fireworks at demonstrations.

They will be introduced as amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill currently going through Parliament – but it is unclear whether Lord Walney’s proposals will be drawn up in time to be included.

The Home Secretary added that security minister Tom Tugendhat (pictured) had written to chief constables urging them to step up after the incident at Mr Ellwood's house

The Home Secretary added that security minister Tom Tugendhat (pictured) had written to chief constables urging them to step up after the incident at Mr Ellwood’s house

Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured), who has faced calls to quit as Commons Speaker over his handling of this week's opposition day debate on a Gaza ceasefire, cited politicians' safety as a reason for his actions during an apology to MPs

Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured), who has faced calls to quit as Commons Speaker over his handling of this week’s opposition day debate on a Gaza ceasefire, cited politicians’ safety as a reason for his actions during an apology to MPs

A Mail on Sunday investigation revealed last week that Just Stop Oil activists are plotting a nationwide blitz to ‘occupy MPs’ homes’ ahead of the General Election.

Two serving MPs – Labour’s Jo Cox and Conservative Sir David Amess – have been murdered in the past eight years. Tory MP Mike Freer announced this month that he will stand down at the next election, after an arson attack targeted his constituency office last December.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who has faced calls to quit as Commons Speaker over his handling of this week’s opposition day debate on a Gaza ceasefire, cited politicians’ safety as a reason for his actions during an apology to MPs. Yesterday Mr Cleverly backed Sir Lindsay.

Anarchist with terror manual and machete shows why they’re scared 

By Richard Marsden and Duncan Gardham

A left-wing anarchist faces a long jail sentence after compiling a bomb-making manual from his bedroom – and declaring an intention to kill at least 50 politicians.

Jacob Graham, who called himself ‘Destro the Destroyer’, dedicated his ‘Freedom Encyclopaedia’ manual to ‘terrorists past and future, anarchists etc’ and buried explosive chemicals in a woodland hide, a court heard.

The 20-year-old student from Norris Green, Liverpool, wrote plans to attack government buildings and politicians, jurors at Manchester Crown Court were told.

He idolised American terrorist Theodore Kaczynski, the ‘Unabomber’, pledging to ‘finish what he started’, and said he felt like a James Bond character. Graham recorded 138 videos, in which he demonstrated explosives and posed with a machete. He was found guilty of preparing acts of terrorism and of disseminating terrorist publications. He was acquitted of planning a terrorist attack.



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