Armed soldiers guard the Guards

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The guards in ceremonial uniforms at a popular London tourist attraction have been joined by so ldiers armed with assault rifles and wearing camouflage battle dress.

The presence of the armed troops at the entrance to Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall, close to Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, comes after the shooting of a soldier in Canada last week.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo was standing as a ceremonial guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial when he was killed by a gunman who then stormed the parliament building.

The entrance to Horse Guards Parade, where tourists gather to watch the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony, is usually protected only by ceremonial soldiers of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The MoD routinely reviews the security arrangements at all of its establishments. Clearly we do not comment publicly on the substance of these.”

It is understood a decision to station armed soldiers at the site would have been taken by a local commander.

Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt told the Daily Telegraph: “It is a sad sign of the times, but discreetly guarding soldiers on ceremonial guard is a far better option than withdrawing them from duty and sight.”

In the wake of the rampage in the Canadian capital by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, there were calls for security in Westminster to be stepped up.

House of Commons officials said they “remain vigilant” but former Cabinet minister Peter Hain called for a review of security procedures in Westminster.

Mr Hain, who introduced tougher security measures as Commons leader in 2004 following a series of breaches in the chamber, said it would be “prudent to review everything” following the Canadian attacks.

The former Northern Ireland secretary said: “I’m sure the head of security will now be urgently reviewing our procedures.

“I think it would be prudent to review everything in light of Ottawa but I believe that our procedures are much more rigorous than in 2004 when security was a joke.”

A review of David Cameron’s security is being carried out after a scare earlier this week when a member of the public ran into the Prime Minister and his protection team in Leeds.

Mr Cameron has insisted he has confidence in his police bodyguards despite the apparent security breach, but Scotland Yard said it would carry out a review.

The Metropolitan Police specialist protection command, which is responsible for the personal protection of the Prime Minister, was examining the incident.

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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