A police protection officer who was travelling with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been suspended from duties after leaving his gun on a plane.
The officer had been travelling with Mr Raab on a visit to the US when he left his gun on a United Airways plane at London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday.
The loaded, semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol was reportedly found by a cleaner.
She alerted the authorities but police were stood down when they realised it belonged to one of Raab’s bodyguards.
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A source told The Sun: “The protection officer began sorting out passports and preparing to escort Mr Raab off the flight.
“For whatever reason, he took off his holster with the loaded Glock pistol inside and laid it on the seat.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident on a flight into the UK on Friday, 18 September and we are taking this matter extremely seriously.
“The officer involved has since been removed from operational duties whilst an internal investigation into the circumstances is taking place.”
In a similar incident in February this year, former prime minister David Cameron’s bodyguard left his gun in a plane toilet.
Passports belonging to Mr Cameron and the officer were also found alongside the weapon, according to newspaper reports at the time.
The officer’s gun, believed to be a 9mm Glock 17 pistol, was found by a passenger, who handed it to flight attendants on a transatlantic flight.
Mr Raab visited Washington this week to speak with senior figures including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on issues of Brexit and Northern Ireland.
The Foreign Secretary said he had had “very positive discussions” with Republicans and Democrats, after senior US politicians warned they will not support any free trade pact with the UK if Britain fails to uphold its commitments to Northern Ireland as part of Brexit.
Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who also met with Mr Raab during his visit, said she “welcomed his assurances but warned: “If the UK violates its international agreements and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.”