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UK police to 'review security for MPs' as Boris Johnson pays tribute to David Amess

Amess was stabbed to death today.

Image: Twitter/BorisJohnson

Updated Oct 15th 2021, 7:13 PM

BORIS JOHNSON HAS paid tribute to Tory MP David Amess and described him as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”.

Amess (69), who has been an MP since 1983, was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at midday today. Amess was holding a constituency clinic in the church at the time of the stabbing.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering the Tory veteran who had been an MP since 1983 and was married with five children.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs.

Speaking this evening, Johnson said: “I think all our hearts are full of shock and sadness today at 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.

“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, and he also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, whether the people who are 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.

“And 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.”

Asked whether Amess’ death highlighted a problem with the protection of MPs, Johnson said police should be allowed get on with their investigation.

“I am sure that all those issues will be considered in the proper time but I think this is a moment for us to think of Sir David, his wife, his family and our thoughts are very much with them,” he said.

Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, described Amess as “a lovely man, devoted to his family” who “built a reputation for kindness and generosity”

Hoyle also said that the death of the MP will need to be examined in terms of security for members.

“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, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues,” Hoyle said.

A spokesman for Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed that a review of MPs’ security is to be carried out. 

“This afternoon, the Home Secretary chaired a meeting of the Police, Security and Intelligence Agencies to discuss the tragic incident in Southend and the ongoing response. She also spoken to the Speaker of the House of Commons,” the spokesperson said. 

“The Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course.”

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Jo Cox

Also paying tribute to Amess was MP Kim Leadbeater, whose sister Jo Cox – also an MP – was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery in the run-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016.

“The shock and the feelings for us as a family, obviously what we went through and another family are going through that again, it’s horrific,” she said.

“It’s hard to put into words how that feels for me.

“The main people I am thinking about are David’s family, his friends and the community he represents and has represented for such a long time.

“I think that’s the thing that people need to understand, it’s about a lot of people whose lives have changed forever today.”

With reporting from Rónán Duffy and Press Association.

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