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MP explains why she went ahead with surgery in wake of Jo Cox killing

One west London MP had a police presence at his meeting, while another revealed they had received an abusive phonecall on the day of the fatal attack

A shrine to MP Jo Cox in Parliament Square(Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Politicians face a difficult decision about whether to go ahead with their regular surgeries following the death of MP Jo Cox.

Meeting constituents is an important part of an MP's job, enabling them to get to grips with the issues affecting the people they were elected to represent.

But after Ms Cox was shot and killed while fulfilling this public duty in her West Yorkshire constituency, many are understandably reviewing their arrangements.

We asked MPs in west London, many of whom paid tribute to Ms Cox , whether they were going ahead with their surgeries in the wake of Thursday's tragic events, and if they were taking any steps to improve security.

'I didn't want to let down constituents'

Ruth Cadbury , MP for Brentford and Isleworth , said she decided to hold her surgery as normal on Friday (June 17) morning after speaking with staff.

She told getwestlondon she felt safe to go ahead as she meets constituents at Hounslow Civic Centre, where she believes security is "reasonably robust".

But she understood why some colleagues were considering cancelling or postponing their surgeries as she said security was lax at many venues.

MP for Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cadbury

"I didn't want to let down the people who come to see me, as there are lots of desperate situations where people need our help," said the Labour MP.

"People were very grateful and gave me their condolences when they came in this morning.

"A lot of MPs have offices that don't have the levels of surveillance or security we're fortunate enough to have at the civic centre.

"I know a lot of MPs have cancelled their surgeries today and I think that demonstrates the frustration they have had over security arrangements."

'Staff dealt with abusive phone call only yesterday'

Ms Cadbury added that her staff had to deal with an abusive phone call only yesterday, after news had broken of the attack on Ms Cox.

"People are upset about things in their lives and MPs seem to be a target of really quite violent responses," she said.

Hounslow Civic Centre, where Ruth Cadbury MP holds her surgeries

Ms Cadbury entered parliament at the same time as Ms Cox and said she knew her well and had visited her home with other MPs on Tuesday night.

"I'm so saddened and angered by Jo's death. She was part of our gang of newbies from last May," she said.

"She was a lovely, lovely person who took extremely well to parliament.

"She had a wonderful bubbly personality but was also incredibly hardworking and took her job extremely seriously."

'Police presence to reassure public'

Greg Hands, the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, said his surgery went ahead as planned today (Friday), but with a police presence to reassure members of the public.

He said: "I will continue to hold surgeries and be available to constituents, as that is an essential part of being a Member of Parliament.

He said since elected in 2005 he had held more than 400 surgeries, during which time police have had to be called out three times - twice for someone with mental health issues who simply refused to leave, and once for someone who got very angry and abusive.

Mr Hands continued: "On none of these occasions was I directly threatened physically, but I know that many MPs have been.

"I find my weekly surgery an important way of being in touch with the community in Chelsea and Fulham, but I await to see what advice parliamentary authorities and the police have for going forward."

'Safe working environment'

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter felt is inevitable that security issues be looked at following the death of his Labour colleague.

Speaking to getwestlondon , he said his weekly surgeries, which are by appointment, will continue but that changes may be necessary.

“We take security for not just myself but my staff very seriously," he said. "We have to make sure in as far as we can that we have a safe working environment.”

'I'm not going to let the forces of darkness win'

MP Stephen Pound, who represents Ealing North, had earlier paid tribute to the "fitness enthusiast" and on Friday (June 17) said he had no plans to close his surgery.

He added: "I say business as usual, I'm not going to let the forces of darkness win.

"That is what Jo Cox would have wanted".

Boris' surgeries will go ahead

MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip Boris Johnson confirmed that his constituency surgeries would continue and called the incident 'an attack on the very foundations of our democracy.

Mr Johnson added: "The attack on Jo Cox was shocking and senseless. Jo was cruelly cut down in her prime, doing her job, representing the best interests of the people she served.

"MPs are public servants, and as such our ability to meet with and discuss every day matters of importance with our constituents is vital to that democracy.

"I look forward to every constituency surgery, and I know that I and my colleagues will continue to champion that vital link to every one of our constituents."

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: "We don't comment on security issues. Mr Johnson holds regular surgeries in his constituency and those surgeries will continue as normal."

'It's a vital part of my job to meet residents'

MP Gareth Thomas, who represents Harrow West, has stated he will review his security arrangements but will continue to hold surgeries.

He said: "My surgery next week is fully booked and will be going ahead as usual.

"I will be reviewing my security arrangements, but I see it as a vital part of my job to meet residents to discuss their concerns and opinions and will continue to carry out my work in Harrow.

"Constituents can always contact my office by phone or email."

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