Holyrood’s Presiding Officer has described the killing of MP Sir David Amess as “an attack on our democracy” and assured MSPs that the parliament will offer them additional security.
Alison Johnstone has written to MSPs in the wake of the “deeply devastating” stabbing of the Conservative MP as he met with constituents in an Essex church.
She pledged that the Scottish Parliament would provide its elected members with any advice and support required and revealed she has spoken to Police Scotland, with the force indicating it will contact MSPs “as a matter of urgency” to discuss security arrangements.
It followed an announcement from the parliament’s corporate body that it would fund any security upgrades at MSPs constituency offices based on police recommendations.
Safety advice for holding surgeries was also reiterated, including sitting behind a table “so this can act as a barrier if necessary” and always letting relatives or colleagues know where they are.
In her letter to members, Ms Johnson wrote: “I know it will have been with a sense of shock and sadness that we learned the news about the death of Sir David Amess MP yesterday.
“Whilst all our thoughts are with Sir David’s family, friends and colleagues, it is understandable that at a time like this we reflect on our own work and the challenges we face.
“Representing our constituents is one of the greatest privileges of being a Member of the Scottish Parliament, but it is one that, sadly, can bring with it threats and fears for the safety of ourselves, our staff and families.”
She added: “As we reflect on the tragic events of the past 24 hours, what is clear to me is the dedication and commitment of all Members of the Scottish Parliament.
“What happened yesterday was an attack on our democracy, but I know we all remain committed to representing the people we serve as best we can.
“And the Parliament will provide the support and advice you need to do that safely.
“I will be in touch with Party leaders and business managers to discuss the Scottish Parliament’s addressing of this deeply devastating event as the first item of business on our return.”