Wales politics

Jo Cox death: Safety concerns for MPs 'repeatedly made'

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Media captionMr Bryant, MP for Rhondda, has long-warned that MPs were a vulnerable target

Warnings over the safety of MPs were repeatedly made in Parliament, a Welsh MP has said.

Chris Bryant, shadow leader of the House of Commons, said preventing another attack on a MP "can't be guaranteed" but all precautions must now be carried out.

It follows the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, 41, who was stabbed and shot in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.

Mr Bryant, MP for Rhondda, called for a "proper risk assessment" to be made.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he said: "A lot of us have been arguing, I've been arguing in Parliament for quite some time that... the real risk in many cases would be to a MP in their constituency.

"Of course, nobody wants to lose that precious jewel in the British democratic system which is that... you can go and see your MP, in many cases without even having to make an appointment, you just turn up.

"Every single one of us wants to preserve that. But I think there needs to be a proper risk assessment around the country. I'm aware that, especially since November last year, there have been a very large number of individual threats [to MPs]."

Image caption About 150 people attended a vigil in Swansea and left floral tributes and messages of support

He added: "The truth is we all know that we can't guarantee that something like this won't happen again but we need to make sure that we have taken all the precautions."

Asked how he felt that despite his warnings, action had not been taken, a visibly upset Mr Bryant said: It's very, very difficult for anybody when they lose a colleague, especially somebody like Jo, and it's always very, very difficult for us to get the policing arrangements right that fit every single circumstance.

"But I'm just aware that probably every MP in the land will have had over the years five, six, seven different forms of death threats, maybe attacks.

"Knowing which ones to take really, really seriously, which ones just to ignore, which ones to brush off and so on, that's a really difficult thing to do.

"I hope now that all the security services, all the 43 police services in the land, will come together and say 'you know we are going to make sure we do this properly'."

Image caption People gather at a vigil in Llangefni on Saturday

Mr Bryant said he did not know a MP who had not "ended up with a stalker".

"It has been particularly bad in the last few months, in particular for women MPs," he said.

"I would hate the idea that there be a young person of real talent out there who is thinking of going into politics who would be frightened of doing so."

Meanwhile, vigils are being held across Wales on Saturday in memory of Mrs Cox, including in Llangefni, on Anglesey, and a multi-faith vigil in Newport.

On Friday, hundreds of people attended a vigil at the Senedd in Cardiff, with 150 in Swansea at similar event.

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