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Parliament security spend soared £10m after Westminster terror attack

Parliament’s security spending soars by £10m a year after the Westminster terror attack as ‘ring of steel’ is thrown around MPs – following fears NO armed officers were patrolling the estate on some days

  • Parliament’s security spending has risen sharply since Westminster terror attack
  • Figures uncovered by MailOnline suggest bill has soared £10m to £45m a year
  • Protections tightened amid fears over weak gates and a lack of armed police   

James Tapsfield, Political Editor, For Mailonline

Parliament’s security spending has soared by nearly £10million a year since the Westminster terror attack, it can be revealed today.

The dramatic escalation of protection for MPs and peers following the deadly attack has been underlined in figures uncovered by MailOnline – suggesting the measures now cost some £45million annually.

The overhaul came amid fears about gaping loopholes, including weaknesses at the main Carriage Gates entrance, no armed officers on site on Sundays, and poor CCTV coverage. 

There are also mounting concerns about the security of MPs as they arrive at Westminster, after Tory former minister Anna Soubry was confronted by an angry mob who branded her a ‘Nazi’ and ‘slag’. 

Khalid Masood stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death in March 2017 as he forced his way through the gates at Parliament.

He was shot dead – but had already killed four others using a car on Westminster Bridge. 

Khalid Masood was shot dead after stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death just inside the main gates at Parliament in March 2017

Khalid Masood was shot dead after stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death just inside the main gates at Parliament in March 2017

Khalid Masood was shot dead after stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death just inside the main gates at Parliament in March 2017

Two separate reviews recommended sweeping changes to the defences on and around the estate. 

In April 2017 – three weeks after PC Palmer’s death – new larger and taller black iron security gates covered in wire mesh were installed.

They are now permanently closed unless a car requires access, but this was not the case when PC Palmer was murdered. Armed officers are also permanently on duty by the entrance.  

Details buried in the accounts for the Houses show that the total security bill for the Westminster estate came to £40.15million in the year following the terror attack.  

That was up from £35.24million in 2016-17. 

The figure appears to have risen even further since then. The Houses split the costs on a 30-70 ratio, and Lords records show it has been contributing around £1.1million a month to security as of October. That would give a total annual bill across the estate of £45million.  

The bill does not include spending on cyber-security – which is also understood to have spiked amid fears over hacking attacks.  

Senior Commons sources told MailOnline the cost of the contract with the Met Police had ‘gone up considerably’.

They said prior to the attack there were ‘no armed police on Sundays’. 

CCTV coverage across the Westminster estate has also been beefed up.  

‘The building was very vulnerable,’ the source added. 

Despite the improvements, there was another security scare before Christmas when an intruder came through the gates of Parliament when they were opened for a car and ran at officers.

The man was tasered and bundled to the cobbles of New Palace Yard. 

The authorities at the Houses signed off tens of thousands of pounds of funding last year for tests of how traffic could be managed if Parliament Square was partly or even fully closed off.

The proposals could mean that only vehicles belonging to politicians, their staff and delivery firms are allowed access to the road running past the historic building.

A UK Parliament spokesman said ‘Parliament takes security extremely seriously. For obvious reasons we cannot discuss our security arrangements.’ 

There are also concerns about the safety of MPs arriving at Westminster, after Anna Soubry was pursued by an aggressive mob yesterday (pictured)

There are also concerns about the safety of MPs arriving at Westminster, after Anna Soubry was pursued by an aggressive mob yesterday (pictured)

There are also concerns about the safety of MPs arriving at Westminster, after Anna Soubry was pursued by an aggressive mob yesterday (pictured)

Senior Commons sources told MailOnine that prior to the attack in March 2017 there were 'no armed police on Sundays'

Senior Commons sources told MailOnine that prior to the attack in March 2017 there were 'no armed police on Sundays'

Senior Commons sources told MailOnine that prior to the attack in March 2017 there were ‘no armed police on Sundays’

 

 

 

 

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