At work in the Palace of Westminster, our elected MPs are in the safest place in the land.

But once they go back to their constituencies, they are at continuous risk from the hatred, derangement and harassment that today colours public life.

The political party is irrelevant. There’s always someone who wants to take it out on his or her Member of Parliament.

That’s why, in my view, with 30 years of experience in this field, they need – and must have – better protection.

Out in their constituency, they have to meet with constituents face to face, in all sorts of social settings from party offices to village halls, and sometimes private houses.

Daily Mirror veteran Paul Routledge is clear MPs need police protection outside Wesminster (

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PHIL SPENCER)
Sir David Amess was killed today (

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Alamy Stock Photo)

David Amess was murdered in a Methodist church hall, supposedly a safe haven to conduct routine parliamentary business with the public. It was anything but.

The Parliamentary Protection Squad is what it says on the tin. It doesn’t go out of the Palace to protect Members. Local police forces sometimes send along a bobby, but it’s not routine.

Even it it’s only a Special Constable, there should be a physical, unformed presence at these events, because would-be assassins know exactly where to go. MPs have to advertise where their surgeries will take place, or it would be a pointless exercise.

MP Jo Cox was murdered in 2016 (

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Huddersfield Examiner)
Labour MP Stephen Timms leaving the Royal London Hospital in 2010, after recovering from being stabbed twice in the stomach during a constituency surgery in east London (

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PA)

That’s how Jo Cox’s killer knew where to find his victim. And Stephen Timms, and Nigel Jones. A small ad in a local paper offering advice to voters is tantamount to a target on their back.

This is not an issue of party politics. Representative democracy cannot function properly if our elected representatives go in constant fear of their lives.

That risk cannot be completely eliminated, but as today's tragedy brought into sharp relief, it must be prevented as far as possible for the sake of not just MPs, but for our way of life.

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