MPs are being offered training in the self-defence technique practiced by Israel’s spies and soldiers in response to the killing of Jo Cox MP in June.

Parliamentarians have begun training in Krav Maga, as practiced by the Israel Defence Forces and its precursor Haganah, as well as by foreign intelligence agency Mossad and internal intelligence agency Shin Bet.

The technique, which means ‘contact combat’ in Hebrew, combines elements of martial arts, boxing and street fighting and was developed in Bratislava in the 1930s by a Slovak Jew named Imi Lichtenfeld, who wanted to help the Jewish community defend itself from anti-Semitic thugs.

Now MPs and their assistants are being offered free courses by Whitehall-based firm Parli-Training, in part because Krav Maga is specifically designed to fend off gun and/or knife attacks.

It comes just two months after Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was shot and stabbed in her constituency by a man believed to have extreme right-wing sympathies.

The company, which typically delivers training on Westminster lobbying, ministerial management skills and speech writing, had two MPs and 18 assistants enrol onto the first course, with the next coming up on 10 November.