Government gives £100m to MI5 and MI6 to thwart lone wolf terrorists

George Osborne pledges extra resources in wake of Charlie Hebdo attacks

Nigel Morris@NigelpMorris
Friday 09 January 2015 14:07

The security services will be given all the resources they need to combat the terror threat, Chancellor George Osborne pledged today.

He was responding to a warning from Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, that the danger from Islamist extremists was growing rapidly and that it was almost inevitable an attack would eventually succeed.

Mr Osborne promised that MI5 and MI6 would get “the support they need” in terms of resources and powers, because protecting the country is “the national priority”.

He told the BBC: “We have put a huge amount of planning and effort, from the police, from the security services, from the Government, into anticipating what might happen, stopping some of these attacks. Of course we have been successful in doing that over the last year.

Police search for the suspects in the shooting attack at Charlie Hebdo to the north-east of Paris

“Within the last few weeks we have put extra money – over £100m - into specifically monitoring people who are going to conflicts in Syria and Iraq, these self-starting terrorists who get their ideas off the internet and then want to perpetrate horrendous crimes.

“So we are putting a huge effort in, as the director general of MI5 has said over the last 24 hours, that is the threat we face and we face the threat from a more complex plot.

“So we have got to be vigilant, we have got to have the resources there.

“My commitment is very clear: this is the national priority, we will put the resources in, whatever the security services need they will get because they do a heroic job on our behalf.”

Security was stepped up at ports and border controls yesterday in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris.

Cars and lorries are facing greater scrutiny in Calais and British ports and controls have been tightened at UK passport checkpoints including the Gare du Nord station in Paris and other Eurostar terminals.

The measures were reported yesterday to a meeting of Cobra, the Whitehall emergency committee, chaired by Theresa May, the Home Secretary. They were not ordered by ministers but were implemented by police and security chiefs in the wake of the Paris attack.

In his speech, which had been planned before the Paris killings, Mr Parker argued for new powers to combat the threat of attacks in Britain. He warned of a “growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it”.

Helicopters fly over the CTD printing building in an industrial area where the suspects in the shooting attack at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo headquarters are reportedly holding a hostage

Downing Street said the Government would carry on talking to the intelligence agencies about the powers they needed. A spokeswoman said the Prime Minister “thinks it is vital we do what we can to support the police and agencies to tackle the increased threat from terrorism and to make sure that they have the resources and powers they need”.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who chairs the Intelligence and Security Committee, argued that the Paris attack gave "added weight" to the case for intelligence services being given stronger powers to intercept communications.

It had become “increasingly difficult” to access vital evidence, he warned.

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