Terrorism threat to UK lawmakers substantial after colleague murder -Patel

·1 min read
Britain's regional cabinet meeting in Bristol

LONDON (Reuters) - British interior minister Priti Patel said on Wednesday that the terrorism threat level to members of parliament was now deemed substantial, days after lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death at a public meeting in his constituency.

It means the direct threat to politicians is the same as the overall national threat level, which means an attack is considered likely.

"The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has conducted an independent review on the risk facing members of parliament," Patel told parliament.

"While we do not see any information or intelligence which points to any credible, specific or imminent threat, I must update the House (of Commons) that the threat level facing members of this house is now deemed to be substantial."

Amess, 69, was killed at a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London, as he met voters in his constituency. He was the second British lawmaker to be killed in five years prompting calls for better security for politicians.

A 25-year-old man, arrested at the scene, is being questioned over Amess's murder by detectives who are treating it as a possible terrorist attack linked to Islamist extremism.

Patel said all 650 members of parliament had been contacted by their local police force to assess their security arrangements in light of the advice of JTAC, the independent body which sets the nation's terrorism threat levels.

"I can assure the house that our world class security and intelligence agencies and counter terror police will now ensure that this change is properly reflected in the operational posture."

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)

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