Tuesday 21 November 2017

Andrew Grice: Keeping politicians away from the public would let terror win

The car driven by the attacker is seen crashed by the Palace of Westminster. Photo: PA
The car driven by the attacker is seen crashed by the Palace of Westminster. Photo: PA

Andrew Grice

Security at the Palace of Westminster has been gradually tightened during the 35 years I have worked there. It was not enough, however, to stop yesterday's horrific incident taking place just below our third-floor office in the parliamentary press gallery.

The dilemma for the security forces and the parliamentary authorities is acute: how to provide safety for MPs, staff and visitors without infringing the historic right of the public to turn up, present a "green card" and try to meet their constituency MP in the ornate central lobby.

Over the years, the steel barriers have gone up, the entrances have been fortified, the number of armed police increased and airport-style searches and scanners introduced for visitors. But it was an open secret that the need to preserve public access meant that security in the palace could not be as strong as it would be for another public building.

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