Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It is far from reassuring to see security being ramped up at this place. The latest addition is the black snakes of painted steel that have appeared in various locations around the parliamentary estate and we have been told that more precautions will be in place after the recess.

All of this but no one seems bothered by something I had noticed recently. On the Tuesday after the bombings I walked past the entrance to Westminster Tube Station and noticed that there is a brand spanking new booth situated there - selling newspapers and souvenirs. There is absolutely no need for this booth as papers etc are available inside the tube station. I also noticed that said booth has spaces at the base (handy for tucking in a helping of explosive?). Oh - and I should mention that several hundred MPs have offices in Portcullis House which sits squarely on top of Westminster tube station.

I duly contacted Serjeant at Arms office asking if there had been a risk assessment and apparently it was down to Westminster Council and the Met police. I was helpfully informed that the new booth was a replacement for the old one (from memory fairly close to Big Ben) which had been deemed a security risk.

Can't quite understand this as blowing up Big Ben might be totemic but relatively few people live or work in that area compared to Portcullis House.

Am I missing something here?