Support our Nation today - please donate here

Security offer made to candidates in bid to counter General Election threats

04 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Security minister Tom Tugendhat

Private security is expected to be provided to any parliamentary candidate judged to need it as part of UK Government efforts to counter threats during the General Election.

Officials are understood to be managing a heightened risk of physical threats to candidates and the election infrastructure, cyber threats and political interference from state actors such as Russia, China and Iran.

Operation Bridger was established in response to the 2016 murder of Labour’s Jo Cox in a bid to provide additional security measures to all MPs, with a further review taking place after the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess in 2021.

Named police officer

An additional £31 million was guaranteed earlier this year by the Government to ensure the scheme was expanded to councillors, mayors, police and crime commissioners and candidates, providing them with a named police officer contact for security matters.

An estimated 6,000 candidates are expected to be registered by Friday’s deadline for the General Election on July 4 and it is understood all will be eligible to receive protective security depending on their need.

All candidates are expected to be offered basic security guidance and advice from their policing contact, which will include details on situational awareness and briefings on cyber security.

Close protection

The option of close protection is also understood to be on offer to all candidates, with requests to be judged on a case-by-case basis and assessed against the risk and vulnerability of the applicant.

Candidates have been advised to let their police contact know where they might be campaigning and if they have any concerns.

It is also understood women have been advised not to campaign alone and to inform their party and others of the areas they are attending.

Concerns were raised by MPs in the last parliament about the availability of security and the response to threats against them.

Speaking on May 22, Stella Creasy – currently the Labour candidate for Walthamstow – told of how a man approached her in the street and called her a “child killer” over her abortion views.

Ms Creasy said the incident occurred whilst she was out with her toddler, who was left in tears after the man refused to leave them alone.

She told the Commons last month: “I am not alone in being targeted on my own, as many members here have talked about.

“But the parliamentary police tell me that this behaviour is completely normal, acceptable within a democracy, that this man had a right to express his opinion, that MPs should expect to be contacted wherever they are in the street and whomever is with them, and if our families are distressed that is just unfortunate.”

Security minister Tom Tugendhat, in his reply, highlighted the work of the Defending Democracy Taskforce, which seeks to protect the democratic integrity of the UK.

It has been suggested candidates have two-factor authentication on their key email and social media accounts.

On the risks of disinformation about the electoral process on social media, Government officials are able to flag it to the platforms for further assessment against their terms of service but are unable to mandate any particular action.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
16 days ago

Oh, interesting. An MP can be harangued and abused in the street even when out with a child who then becomes distressed yet I thought we’d recently reached a conclusion that the same behaviour outside an MPs home was wrong. Some sorting out to do here surely.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Not quite what Mrs May envisaged…

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
16 days ago

What have the tories got to say about one of their candidates putting out disinformation on social media?

The police are investigating mr robert Latham for possible crime under election laws for his social media posts.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.