HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 c1549 11.34 am
Mr. Speaker

Before I call the Clerk to read the private business, I wish to make a brief statement about security. My statement follows a meeting of the House of Commons Commission yesterday, and advice from the joint committee on security, which met on Monday.

In relation to the Chamber, I have suspended the right of Members to sponsor guests to the Special Galleries. This restriction will remain in force until further notice. Only people personally invited by me will be able to access the Special Galleries. Peers will have access to their usual section in the Gallery. I have instructed the secretary of the Press Gallery that only those who hold press passes are, for the time being, allowed into the Press Gallery.

Prior to last week's incident, the police and security services had embarked on a thorough review of security in the parliamentary estate. They will produce an interim report with recommendations covering matters of immediate concern as soon as possible. Those recommendations will be considered as soon as they are received and any measures which need to be taken will, in the first instance, be announced to the House.

I realise that the restrictions on access to the Galleries will cause inconvenience for some Members and for others, but I am sure that the House will appreciate that it is in the interests of all who work in this building that the lessons of last week's incident are learned and acted upon.

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