Chris Grayling said the terror threat is "constantly evolving"
Chris Grayling said the threat is "constantly evolving" and the Government "must respond accordingly to ensure the protection of the public”.
In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Grayling said: “I know the House will recognise that we face a constantly evolving threat from terrorism and must respond accordingly to ensure the protection of the public against those who would do us harm.
“The update we are making to our security measures is an important part of that process.
We face a constantly evolving threat from terrorism and must respond accordingly to ensure the protection of the public against those who would do us harm
“We remain open for business. People should continue to fly and comply with security procedures.”
The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely", for more than two years.
Downing Street announced airline passengers travelling to the UK on direct flights from six countries in the Middle East and north Africa are to be banned from carrying laptops and other large electronic devices as cabin luggage.
The ban affects direct inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia and covers devices which are larger than a typical smartphone measuring 16cm by 9.3cm by 1.5cm, which will now have to go in the plane's hold.
Laptops will be covered by the ban
The move was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday in the latest of a series of meetings on aviation security.
It follows a similar measure announced by the US authorities affecting flights originating in a longer list of eight Middle Eastern countries.
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Mrs May's official spokesman declined to discuss whether the new rules were prompted by specific intelligence, while the US government cited unspecified "threats".
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said Britain has been in close touch with the US authorities over the issue.
The tightening of security comes just weeks after it was revealed that UK security services have foiled 13 potential attacks in less than four years, while counter-terrorism units are running more than 500 investigations at any time.
Air industry consultant John Strickland warned that the ban will cause "headaches for airlines and customers" but said carriers have "no choice but to put security first" when official advice is given.
He added: "One unexpected consequence will be the challenge of additional devices with lithium batteries being stowed in the holds which brings its own challenges to safety."
Laptops will have to be stowed in the hold
Transport Secretary Mr Grayling said: "We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact."
In an earlier security measure introduced in July 2014, passengers at UK airports were advised to ensure electronic devices were charged so they could be switched on or face not being allowed to take them onto aircraft. The move came amid reports two terror networks were working together on a bomb that could evade existing measures.
Announcing the new restrictions, a Government spokesman said: "The safety and security of the travelling public is our highest priority. That is why we keep our aviation security under constant review and put in place measures we believe are necessary, effective and proportionate.
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Terrorism can be described as the wrongful use of violence in order to intimidate civilians or politicians for ideological, religious, or political reasons with no regard for public safety.
"The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.
"Decisions to make changes to our aviation security regime are never taken lightly. We will not hesitate to act in order to maintain the safety of the travelling public and we will work closely with our international partners to minimise any disruption these new measures may cause."
UK airlines operating direct flights which will be hit by the new measures are British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, while overseas airlines affected are Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.