Commons veteran praised as ‘an exemplary public servant’
Conservative MP Sir David amess has died after being stabbed during a constituency surgery in Essex.
The attack took place at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh at about midday. Essex Police said a 25-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder. Counter-terror police are involved in the early investigation.
Sir David, who was first elected to parliament in 1983, leaves a wife and five children. The 69-year-old was praised as “the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet” whose “every word and act were marked by kindness”, as tributes flooded in from parliamentary colleagues.
Boris Johnson pays tribute to David Amess
Boris Johnson has paid fulsome tribute to Sir David Amess following the MP’s death in a stabbing today.
The prime minister said: “All our hearts are full of shock and sadness today to the loss of Sir David Amess MP, who was killed in his constituency surgery, in a church, after almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom.
“I think the reason people are so shocked and saddened is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.
“He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, whether they were people who were suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals, or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country.
“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future. We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague, and our thoughts are very much today with his wife, his children and his family.”
Mr Johnson said he believed “everyone was deeply shocked and heart-stricken” by Sir David’s death.
Samtidig, Priti Patel, the home secretary, made a statement on Twitter. Hun skrev: “I am devastated we have lost Sir David Amess. David was not only a fellow Essex MP, but a kind and loyal friend.”
Southend MP was ‘one of kindest, nicest, most gentle’ in politics, sier Boris Johnson
Essex Police appeal for information from public
Essex Police detectives have asked members of the public to contact them with any information or footage from around the time of the stabbing death of Sir David Amess.
I en uttalelse, sa styrken: “We are continuing to appeal for anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to come forward.
“We want to say thank you to the members of the public who alerted so quickly.
“If you have any information you can submit a report online at http://www.essex.police.uk or use the ‘live chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.
“Please quote incident 445 av 15 oktober.
“You can also call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
David Amess’ death will cause renewed debate over security for MPs
The killing of Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery will renew questions over security arrangements for MPs, skriver Andrew Woodcock.
Following the murder of Labour’s Jo Cox in 2016, security was stepped up, with all MPs offered panic buttons, extra lighting and additional locks at their homes and offices, as well as emergency alarm fobs to carry with them.
And Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today said that “in the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken” in the wake of Amess’s death.
Precarious balance between safety and openness to public
Killing of David Amess ‘a tragic day for democracy’
Theresa May, the former PM, has paid tribute to David Amess.
Ms May tweeted: “Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Sir David Amess. A decent man and respected parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties. A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.”
‘Parliamentarians should be able to work without fear’
Lord McFall, the speaker in the House of Lords, paid tribute to David Amess in a statement posted to Twitter.
Han sa: “What has happened today is an utter tragedy.
“Sir David Amess MP was an exemplary public servant and lovely person. I have known him and worked alongside him in the House of Commons since 1987.
“I always admired him for his deep commitment to his constituents, to international affairs, to parliament and to the common good.
“Parliamentarians should be able to represent their constituents without fear.”
Images from scene of killing
More images have emerged from the location where David Amess was killed.
Local councillor pays tribute to David Amess’ ‘accessibility’ – but notes the vulnerability that brought
David Garston, a local Conservative councillor, said Sir David Amess was an “irreplaceable” constituency MP whose approachability left him “vulnerable”.
“He was probably one of the best constituency MPs in the country, and because he was so accessible and because he was everywhere, he obviously left himself vulnerable and didn’t think twice about it,” Mr Garston told the PA news agency.
The councillor said that when Sir David came to his ward, “you couldn’t get very far because he’d stop every hundred yards to talk to somebody”.
Han sa: “It was always very slow with Sir David but he’s paid the price for being so easily got at unfortunately and I just think it’s dreadful.
“The community have lost a really good MP who cared deeply for them and he’ll be a very, very hard act to follow. To find an MP like Sir David, who didn’t think about ministerial position – he wasn’t interested, he was a community man – I would say he’s irreplaceable.”
Commons speaker also raises security concerns
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, has issued a statement following Sir David Amess’ killing.
Han sa: “I am shocked and deeply distressed by the killing of Sir David Amess.
“David was a lovely man, devoted to his family, to parliament and his Southend West constituency. He was well-liked by members and the staff alike, and during his almost four decades here built a reputation for kindness and generosity.
“This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and the whole country.
“In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, men inntil videre, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.”
David Amess wrote about security concerns following Jo Cox’s murder
David Amess wrote in his book Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster about how MPs had responded to the murder of Jo Cox.
Sir David particularly addressed the subject of constituency surgeries, referencing in particular the attack on Nigel Jones in 2000 by a sword-wielding assailant, in which one of the MP’s aides was killed. “It could happen to any of us,” Sir David observed.
After going on to discuss the murder of Jo Cox in 2016, han skrev: “There can be no doubt that as a result of these heightened security concerns most members have modified or changed the way they interact with the general public.
“The Commons authorities have taken threats very seriously and have issued guidance for the safety and security of not only members, but their families. This includes security in their own home.
“I myself have over the years experienced nuisance from the odd member of the general public at my own property. We regularly check our locks and many others have CCTV cameras installed, but probably the most significant change has been with constituency surgeries.
“The British tradition has always been that members of parliament regularly make themselves available for constituents to meet them face-to-face at their surgeries. Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments.
“We are advised never to see people alone, we must be extra careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure.
“In short, these increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”
Sir David went on to lament the abuse MPs suffered on social media from unaccountable and unnamed trolls.
Flags lowered in Westminster
Flags have been lowered to half mast outside parliament following the death of Southend MP Sir David Amess.