Islamic extremists have joined tour groups of Parliament to ‘scope out’ the building for a potential terrorist attack, intelligence sources have told The Mail on Sunday.
The disclosure, in the wake of last week’s gun attack on the Canadian Parliament, last night led to demands by MPs for Speaker John Bercow to restrict the number of visitors to the Commons.
One MP said it was a ‘wake-up call’ which proved plots to blow up Big Ben do ‘not just belong to the realms of Doctor Who’. An aide to Mr Bercow hit back, saying: ‘We must not hand a propaganda victory to the terrorists by shutting out the public.’
On guard: Security is being tightened for next month’s Remembrance service, attended by the Queen
High alert: MPs have called for House of Commons tours to be restricted after the attack in Canada
This newspaper has learned security is also being tightened for next month’s Remembrance Day service, attended by the Queen and senior politicians, after fears were raised at the highest level about the public’s proximity to the dignitaries at the Cenotaph.
Up to three Islamic terror cells in the UK, thought to be plotting attacks on soldiers in the UK, have been tracked as they carried out surveillance on army barracks.
The UK is on a heightened state of alert after Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau went on a rampage in central Ottawa, killing a soldier guarding the National War Memorial before storming the parliament building. The gunman was shot dead by the Canadian sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, as he headed towards the chamber in which MPs were barricaded.
After the attack, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to MI5 boss Andrew Parker and Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe about security at landmark buildings, including the Commons.
According to one intelligence briefing, individuals linked to terror groups have joined ‘history tours’ around Parliament.
Although visitors are banned from taking photographs inside the Palace, the tours allow them to study the layout of the building. More than a million members of the public enter the Palace of Westminster every year, and 3,500 closely vetted passholders work there.
The number is expected to rise as Mr Bercow has pledged to boost revenues by ‘selling’ access to business people, film crews and students.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2807970/Extremists-join-House-Commons-tour-groups-plot-terror-attacks-MPs-Cenotaph-security-crackdown-Canada-killing-sparks-fears-outrage-Remembrance-Day.html#ixzz3HDDry200