Purple Haze

AT Westminster it does occasionally occur to you that you work in a building that is probably Europe’s number one terrorist target.

Since I became an MP in 2001 there has been a huge increase in security at the Houses of Parliament.
The impact of the 9/11 attacks has led to concrete blocks around the building, policemen armed with machine guns, and most recently, a bullet-proof glass security screen in the public gallery of the Commons chamber.

All MPs felt some sadness about this.
But even this innovation failed to prevent two protesters from hitting the Prime Minister with purple flour.

From my usual place on the back row I could not see the culprits, but had a clear view as the projectile hit Tony Blair’s back.

We were recently been warned that there is a specific threat of such an attack using a deadly substance like anthrax.

An MP who was watching on TV from his office told me he thought “I could be Prime Minister by tonight”.

It turned out to be harmless; just another protest by cranks who seem to think that this sort of thing helps their cause.
It does not.

Some have criticised the uniformed doorkeepers in the House of Commons, who are the last line of defence.

That is unfair.
They did their job as required.
One of them comes from Fairwater, in Cardiff and travels up to London every week to work in Parliament.

The fault lay with a woman originally from Caerphilly.
Llin Golding is the daughter of the late Ness Edwards MP.
She used to be an MP herself, but is now Baroness Golding.
She had auctioned tickets for seats reserved for people personally vouched for by MPs and Peers.
The sad consequence will be even heavier security.