Conservative MP Sir David Amess dies after stabbing at constituency surgery

© David Woolfall/CC BY 3.0

Sir David Amess, the 69-year-old Conservative MP for Southend West, has died after being stabbed several times at his constituency surgery in Essex, and police have confirmed that a man has been arrested on suspicion murder.

Essex Police have released a statement, which reads: “A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October). We attended and found a man injured. He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered. He is currently in custody. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

Amess had represented Southend West in Essex since 1997, and before that Basildon from 1983 to 1997. The stabbing took place at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

He is the second MP in five years to have died after a violent attack at an advice surgery for constituents. Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was murdered by a white supremacist in a shooting and stabbing in 2016 at her surgery.

Labour MP Stephen Timms survived an attempted murder in 2010, when an Islamist extremist student booked an appointment to see him at a constituency surgery. She was later convicted of attempted murder.

Parliamentary assistant Andrew Pennington was killed in 2000 while trying to protect Nigel Jones, at the time serving as the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, also at a constituency surgery.

Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons Speaker, has said in response to the death of Amess that MPs’ security should be examined and safety measures taken.

The Speaker said: “In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.”

Below are some of the tributes paid by Labour figures to Amess following the news.

Labour leader Keir Starmer: “My heart goes out to David’s wife and children, his staff, friends and constituents.

“This is a dark and shocking day. The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before.

“Above all else, today I am thinking of David, of the dedicated public servant that he was and of the depth of positive impact he had for the people he represented. Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first-hand in parliament. His Catholicism was central to his political life and he was highly respected across parliament, within the church and in the Christian community.

“Let us come together in response to these horrendous events. We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan: “I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away. He loved being an MP and was a great public servant. It is just awful. My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Londoners, are with David’s loved ones at this time of unimaginable grief.”

Ed Miliband MP: “Devastating and awful news about Sir David Amess. He was kind, decent and simply doing the job he loved. A terrible loss. My deepest condolences and love to his family and friends.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP: “Terrible to learn David has lost his life. When I was a new MP my office was not far from his. Although from a different party he was immensely kind, offering tips to a rookie MP & always asked after my children. I am in shock. My deepest deepest condolences to David’s family.”

Emily Thornberry MP: “I am so deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Sir David. He was killed whilst fulfilling his duty of public service. My thoughts are with his family, his friends and his staff. Terrible news.”

Chris Bryant MP: “My heart goes out to all the family and friends of Sir David Amess MP, a man of unfailing courtesy, a wicked sense of humour and a resilient determination to serve his constituents. Parliament will be the less without him. Violence may have its shameful day but honour remains.”

Chris Elmore MP: “David was decent, thoughtful and funny. When I became a dad earlier this year, he was as thrilled as I was. That was David, his warmth was genuine and he couldn’t wait to share his excitement with me. I can’t comprehend David being killed, for doing the job I know he loved.”

Anna McMorrin MP: “Really struggling to take in the news. Sending so much love to David Amess’ family, loved ones and his office staff. David was such a kind, considerate person who had time for everyone and always said a special hello to Cadi.”

Tulip Siddiq MP: “Shocked and heartbroken by this tragic news about David Amess. He was always really kind and supportive to me. My thoughts are with David’s family and loved ones.”

Yvette Cooper MP: “Just devastating news. David Amess was one of the kindest, friendliest people you could meet. Completely dedicated to serving his constituency, involved in so many causes & important work on animal welfare. But above all, just kind and keen to help others. We will all miss him”.

Emma Hardy MP: “Truly truly awful. Heartbreaking. He was such a kind, thoughtful and gentle man and I really enjoyed working with him in the endometriosis appg. This is dark day for our democracy.”

Stephen Doughty MP: “Devastated to hear the news. Sir David was always an absolute gentleman to me and well loved on all sides. A true champion for his constituency. This is a dark day for our public life, so tragically again. But my foremost thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Fleur Anderson MP: “I’m so shocked by the murder of Sir David Amess. He was such a dedicated and kind man. An attack on any MP is an attack on us all and on our democracy.”

Toby Perkins MP: “Heartbreaking to hear that Sir David Amess has been murdered. My thoughts are with his family, his friends, his staff and all those who mourn. An unfailingly polite and courteous man murdered doing his job. Just awful. RIP Sir David.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw: “It is truly shocking to hear the news that Sir David Ames MP has been stabbed to death while meeting his constituents. Our thoughts are with Sir David’s family and friends. His death will send shockwaves throughout the political world and wider community.”

Manuel Cortes, TSSA: “This is shocking and dreadful news. David Amess, like all other MPs, was a public servant. No matter their party colours our elected representatives must be free to carry out their duties without fear or threat. Our union sends our condolences to David Amess’ family and his loved ones at this time.”

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