UK MPs could be given police protection for public meetings in wake of killing

Urgent review into security of MPs away from parliament.

UK MPs could be given police protection for public meetings in wake of killing

LONDON — British MPs holding meetings with the public could be offered police protection following the killing of their colleague David Amess, Home Secretary Priti Patel said Sunday.

Ministers and parliamentary authorities are carrying out an urgent review of MPs’ security outside parliament after the Conservative representative for Southend West was fatally stabbed at a drop-in meeting in his constituency. These face-to-face meetings, allowing constituents to bring problems to their lawmakers directly, are known as surgeries.

Patel said a range of security measures had been put in place since Friday’s attack, but made clear other options are now being considered, including whether MPs will be offered “officers or some kind of protection while you’re holding your surgery.”  

“We need to close any gaps basically, where we feel that there are concerns,” she told Sky News. Patel said new protective measures would be “immediate.”

“This isn’t a case of let’s wait for two weeks, three weeks, four weeks,” she said.

MPs were offered tighter security measures following the 2016 murder of Labour representative Jo Cox, who was killed on her way to meet constituents in her Batley and Spen seat. But, writing in the Observer on Sunday, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said Britain now needed “to take stock and review whether those measures are adequate to safeguard members, staff and constituents, especially during surgeries.”

Hoyle warned, however, that ending face-to-face surgeries completely could undermine a “cornerstone of our democracy” by reducing the visibility of parliamentarians to the public.

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said the suggestion of “ensuring that anyone who wants or needs security at surgeries is a good idea, not least because people often know, even if we don’t advertise them, that they are happening, so they can become a magnet for people who want to come and cause trouble.”

“I’m not sure that we can ever eliminate the risk, but there are other things that can be done to reduce the risk,” the opposition frontbencher said.

Police arrested 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali after the attack. He is currently being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act.

Source : Politico EU More   

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German Greens vote to start formal coalition talks with SPD, liberals

Three-way party talks still need official approval from the Free Democrats.

German Greens vote to start formal coalition talks with SPD, liberals

A vast majority of the German Greens’ party congress voted in favor of entering formal coalition talks with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), putting Germany one step closer to launching a new government.

Only two delegates out of the 70 total voted Sunday against the negotiations, while one party member abstained.

“We have the chance to take on responsibility and play a decisive role in this government of progress. We are happy to face this responsibility,” the party tweeted shortly after the vote.

If the talks succeed, the three-way coalition would effectively mark the end of 16 years of a conservative-led government under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had announced plans to retire from politics before September’s vote. That put the Social Democrats, which came first in the election, and their candidate for chancellor, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, in pole position to lead the next government.

The SPD’s party leadership unanimously supported starting the coalition talks Friday, while the FDP’s leadership is set to vote on the negotiations on Monday.

Over the weekend, Green party co-leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck urged members to vote in favor of the coalition talks, arguing that the paper negotiated between the three parties as a basis for the talks included commitments in favor of “future investments in climate protection, research and education, and digitization.”

The document, unveiled on Friday, includes a proposal to move Germany’s exit from coal from 2038 to 2030; measures to boost the expansion of renewable energy; and the creation of an “immediate climate protection program.”

Although some delegates at the Green party congress questioned if the exploratory paper did enough to address issues like immigration and poverty, Baerbock countered that the Greens would use the negotiations to ask for even greater concessions from their partners in the so-called “traffic light” coalition — named for the parties’ colors of red (SPD), yellow (FDP) and green (the Greens).

“If we want to change something, we need decisions that will support us in the next decade,” Baerbock said. “Our focus is on the big tasks of the future.”

Source : Politico EU More   

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