Ever since the horrific death of Jo Cox last month there has been a lot of focus on the security of MPs in their constituencies.
The day after this tragedy, a member of my team was threatened by a resident who visited my office. I have a duty to ensure my team’s working environment is safe and so I have decided to put some simple measures in place.
As a candidate and as an MP I have worked very hard to make myself as accessible as possible to my constituents through regular surgeries, an open door policy in the constituency office and by regularly attending events and meetings. I remain as committed as ever to being at the heart of our community and being there for anyone who needs my help. Our local police service has been fantastic in supporting me in this. They work closely with my office to make sure that both I and my team are kept safe, while working with the limitations that being a public figure presents.
Anyone who came into my office during the election and afterwards would know that we had a totally open door policy. Anyone was free to walk in at any time during opening hours and chat to either me or my staff. I have now decided that the best way to ensure the safety of my staff and avoid any potential incidents is to put a doorbell at the bottom of the stairs.
Everyone is still welcome and I warmly encourage everyone to still drop in to the office if they have a concern, this simply means my staff can monitor the flow of people in and out and if necessary take action to ensure their own safety. While incidents are very rare in Morley and Outwood, due to the nature of the some of the work my staff carry out, there have been incidents where they could have been better protected. This system will put those safeguards in place.
I also used to advertise the time and exact location of my surgeries on my website. I have now decided that the best way to proceed is to continue to hold appointment-only surgeries, but I will be posting the date and the town or village where the surgery is taking place so people have an idea of when and where they can next see me.
My team can then make an appointment for you. This is a practice that many MPs follow. I hope everyone will appreciate the need for these changes. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me; you can email any time on firstname.lastname@example.org.