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UK lawmakers now face ‘substantial’ threat after fatal Amess stabbing, says Home Secretary

By Mick Krever, Nada Bashir and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Five days after UK Member of Parliament David Amess was stabbed to death, lawmakers in the UK are now believed to face a “substantial” threat, the Home Secretary said Wednesday evening in the House of Commons.

“The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has conducted an independent review on the risk facing Members of Parliament,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

“While we do not see any information or intelligence which points to any credible, specific, or imminent threat, I must update the House that the threat level facing members of this House is now deemed to be substantial,” she added.

The UK defines a “substantial” threat as meaning that “an attack is likely.” This brings the threat to parliamentarians in line with the threat to the rest of the country, Patel said, which is also deemed to be “substantial.”

Amess, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, died after being stabbed several times at a constituency meeting east of London last week, in what authorities have declared an act of terrorism.

The 69-year-old, who represented Southend West in Essex, was not considered a controversial politician and was not a widely known political figure in the UK.

It was the second murder of a sitting British lawmaker in five years, after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed in her constituency in 2016 by a man with extreme right-wing views.

Amess’s death has reignited discussions about the safety of the UK’s elected officials.

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told CNN on Saturday that police officers from local forces would contact every UK lawmaker to discuss their security arrangements following Amess’ murder.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who tried to save the life of a wounded police officer during a terror attack on Westminster in 2017, also tweeted that MPs’ engagement with the public was a “vital part of our work” but that there was now, understandably, “huge anxiety” among his colleagues.

“Until the Home Secretary’s review of MP security is complete I would recommend a temporary PAUSE in face to face meetings,” he said.

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