UK Politics

UK 'should review Commons security'

Prime Minister's Questions

A former cabinet minister has called for a review of UK parliamentary security procedures after a series of shootings in Canada.

A gunman shot and killed a soldier at a war memorial in Ottawa, then ran into the parliament building where he exchanged gunfire with police.

Labour's Peter Hain said it would be "prudent" to reassess the situation in London as a result.

UK House of Commons officials said the authorities would "remain vigilant".

One gunman is dead in Ottawa, but parts of Canada's capital remain on lockdown as police hunt for more suspects.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron offered his support to Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, tweeting: "I'm appalled by today's attack in Ottawa. I offer my full support to @pmharper and the Canadian people as they deal with this incident."

'More rigorous'

Mr Hain, a former leader of the House of Commons who introduced tougher security measures in 2004 following a series of breaches in the chamber, said: "I'm sure the head of security will now be urgently reviewing our procedures.

"I think it would be prudent to review everything in light of Ottawa but I believe that our procedures are much more rigorous than in 2004 when security was a joke."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Hain oversaw a review of Commons security 10 years ago

Parliament's security procedures were criticised intensely at the time when protest group Fathers 4 Justice threw a condom containing purple powder at then-prime minister Tony Blair in the Commons chamber and pro-hunt campaigners, including rock star Bryan Ferry's son Otis, stormed in during the hunting ban debate.

On Wednesday a man was taken into police custody after apparently throwing marbles at the glass screen covering the public gallery in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions.

A House of Commons spokesman said: "The security authorities at the Houses of Parliament are monitoring the developing situation in Ottawa. The authorities here remain vigilant and measures appropriate to the current threat level in the UK continue to be taken on the parliamentary estate."

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