Sir David Amess: Terror threat against MPs raised to ‘substantial’, says Home Secretary Priti Patel

Sir David Amess was stabbed to death on Friday 15 October as he held a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

Intelligence officers have upgraded the threat level for politicians to “substantial” as a fresh attack on an MP in the wake of the murder of Sir David Amess is now deemed “likely”.

Following a review by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre linked to MI5, Home Secretary Priti Patel urged colleagues on Wednesday (20 October) to take the “change in risk seriously”.

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She told the Commons that there was no “specific or imminent threat”, but it was understood MPs will now be contacted over how their security arrangements may be altered following the stabbing of Sir David on Friday (15 October).

Ms Patel said: “While we do not see any information or intelligence which points to any credible or specific or imminent threat, I must update the House that the threat level facing Members of Parliament is now deemed to be substantial.

“This is the same level as the current national threat to the United Kingdom as a whole, so I can assure the House that our world-class intelligence and security agencies and counter-terror police will now ensure that this change is properly reflected in the operational posture.”

It is understood that the threat against MPs was previously deemed to be "moderate", meaning an attack is "possible but not likely".

The JTAC divides threat levels into five categories; low, moderate, substantial, severe and critical.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said it would be working with police and parliamentary authorities to review security for MPs following the upgrade to the threat level.

An NPCC spokesman said that Operation Bridger, which is the security programme set up after the murder of MP Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist in 2016, had contacted every MP since Sir David’s killing.

He said: “Many members of Parliament have taken this immediate opportunity to reassess the bespoke security arrangements they have in place, and forces are working with them and their staff to implement any changes.

“We continue to strongly encourage MPs to immediately report any security concerns to their local police force in order to keep themselves, their staff and members of the public attending constituency events safe.”