'Shock and sadness' at fatal attack on veteran Tory MP Sir David Amess

Politicians across the UK have spoken of their shock and distress at the stabbing to death of veteran Tory MP Sir David Amess as he held a constituency surgery in Essex.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 4:55 am

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The 69-year-old, who had been an MP since 1983, was attacked at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, near Southend, at lunchtime on Friday. A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think all our hearts are full of shock and sadness – and the reason I think people are so shocked and saddened is, above all, he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.”

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Sir David Amess was Conservative MP for Southend West

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab tweeted that he was “heartbroken”.

Former Premier David Cameron said: "This is the most devastating, horrific and tragic news.”

And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “This is awful beyond words.”

The fatal attack on Sir David comes five years after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed multiple times in the street by a white supremacist as she was on her way to hold a surgery in her Batley and Spen constituency in Yorkshire.

And in 2010, another Labour MP Stephen Timms survived a murder attempt by an Islamist terrorist who stabbed him twice in the abdomen at his constituency surgery in London.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said questions were "rightly being asked" about the safety of MPs and she would "provide updates in due course".

Brendan Cox, Ms Cox’s widower, wrote on Twitter: "This brings everything back – the pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now."

And Ms Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, recently elected MP for her old seat, said she felt scared and frightened after hearing the news. "Totally shocked by what has happened to think that something so horrific could happen again to another MP, to another family.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “This is a dark and shocking day, the more so because we have been here before.

“We have to come together in response to this horrendous act and show that violence, intimidation and threats will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants like David.”

Sir David, who was married with four daughters and a son, was one of the longest-serving MPs in the Commons. He was a strong Brexit supporter but campaigned on a wide variety of issues, including fuel poverty, endometriosis and animal welfare. He was one of the few Tory MPs who supported the ban on fox hunting.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle promised a review of MPs' security following Sir David’s death, but urged there should be no "knee jerk reaction".

He said: "It is a tragedy that should never have happened. This is somebody who is carrying out his duty on behalf of his constituents.”

But he said it was important that MPs could continue to meet their constituents.

“What we can't do is give in to these people, people who don't believe in our values, don't believe in what we do.

"I believe the electorate needs to be able to communicate with the people who have been elected. It is part of our democratic process.”

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