MPs will have greater freedom to claim taxis on expenses in one of a new set of security protocols put in place this afternoon.
The announcement by Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle comes in response to heightened intimidation and targeting of MPs, especially Labour MPs following last week’s Israel-Palestine vote in Parliament.
In an email to MPs this afternoon, Sir Lindsay said “the safety and security of all colleagues is a top priority for me… especially considering the current heightened community tensions”.
He also cited a “significant increase in protest activity, and spike in abusive and threatening behaviour towards Members”.
This afternoon MPs were gifted new freedoms to claim taxis on their expenses, allowing them to move to and from the Parliamentary estate and constituency offices while avoiding the general public.
Mr Speaker also set out that the details of these new cab journeys will not be published by the independent expenses body, IPSA, “given the security implications”.
Sir Lindsay added that the Met has agreed to extend high visibility uniformed patrols outside Parliament on sitting days, with a renewed focus on entrances and exists.
He said he hoped this would provide “greater reassurance for colleagues, staff and the public”.
On Friday, Labour MPs began voicing concerns about their safety and condemned the “vile abuse” against them following Sir Keir forcing them to vote against an SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire.
The Cardiff office of Jo Stevens MP was sprayed with red paint, and posters were put up accusing her of having “blood on her hands” after she abstained on the vote.
Last week hundreds of school children also targeted the East London office of Rushanara Ali MP after she voted against the amendment.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting was also attacked on social media for failing to back a ceasefire.
One social media user suggested reminding Mr Streeting’s Muslim and South Asian voters that he’s gay in the hope it would “help him lose his seat inshallah”.
The Green Party joined in the social media pile-on, naming all the MPs who “failed to vote for an end to the killing in Gaza”, even though the ceasefire vote would have likely made no difference to the war.
On November 9, IPSA published a statement announcing additional well-being support for MPs’ offices in light of the outbreak of war the month prior.
IPSA said they “recognise that events in the Middle East over the past month have led to an increased workload for many offices, with both additional casework and correspondence from constituents”.
They said: “To help MPs’ staff, there is funding available from IPSA for training, health, welfare, and wellbeing.”