Gordon Brown has urged the country to show that our democratic values are “indestructible” in the aftermath of the suspected terrorist attack that killed MP Sir David Amess.
The former prime minister stressed that the reaction to the fatal stabbing of the Southend West MP on Friday could not allow “democracy to be diminished”.
But Brown also called for Members of Parliament to have access to increased police protection, predicting that the measures would be introduced within days.
Speaking to Sky News, Brown said: “This is an attack on our democracy, so the answer cannot be less democracy.
“This looks as if it is a terrorist incident, it is probably related to Al Shabaab or to al Qaeda, and we’ll find out more in the next few days.
“But the answer when you come across a terrorist incident is we don’t blink, we don’t shirk, we don’t flinch, we don’t show weakness and we stand up for what we believe.
“And, of course, we will increase the security that is available to Members of Parliament and councillors when they’re doing their surgeries, and that is something that must happen immediately.
“But it’s true also to say that we must not allow our democracy to be diminished because a terrorist attack has occurred.”
Brown, who was an MP at Westminster from 1983 to 2015, continued: “I think the history of dealing with terrorism is that if you ever show weakness and if you ever give the impression that coexistence is impossible and that you’re going to back away and give up on your values, then you show something that gives terrorists hope.
“We must not do that.
“Hearts are broken, but our resolve must be unbreakable.
“A life has been tragically destroyed but our values – our democratic values – they are indestructible, and we must show that now.”
Asked if close protection officers or bodyguards should be offered to MPs, Brown said they should and added: “We must say to members of parliament: be careful where you hold your constituency surgeries in a place that is protected but, at the same time, if you need police protection that is going to be available.
“It need not be obtrusive, it need not be so obvious, but I think the protection has got to be made available now to Members of Parliament who feel that there is a risk to what they are doing.
“I think that will be introduced in the next few days.”