New security chief for parliament after Murdoch pie affair

Cameras capture the moment Murdoch as attacked.
Cameras capture the moment Murdoch as attacked.

By Ian Dunt

Parliament may be getting a new head of security in the wake of an attack on Rupert Murdoch.

The attack took place earlier this year, when activist Jonnie Marbles tried to cover the media mogul in shaving foam, only to be fought off by his wife Wendi Deng.

Speaking to MPs yesterday Speaker John Bercow said the attack took place due to under-planning and "a wrong assessment of risk".

The assessment will be seen as humiliating for security officials in the Palace of Westminster and for Jill Pays, who announced she would step down as Serjeant at Arms last week.

Ms Pays was previously criticised for allowing police to search the offices of then-shadow immigration minister Damian Green.

"The review found that, at the time of the attack, none of the security staff in the room was in a position to be able to reach the assailant before he got to Mr Murdoch," Mr Bercow said.

"Those present commented upon the chaotic nature of scenes inside and outside the committee room following the incident.

"The inadequate security in the room was the result of a serious failure of planning for this event, based upon the wrong assessment of risk.

"These, and other deficiencies, should have been recognised and rectified in advance. They were not."

The Bercow-commissioned review recommended a new director of security role for the Palace of Westminster to sign off on arrangements for all high-profile events.


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