Essex police have announced the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed several times while running a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Amess as he lead a surgery in his Essex constituency. A surgery is a weekly opportunity for constituents to contact their MP in person.
First responders acted to save Amess’ life before paramedics and an air ambulance arrived. It has been reported that Amess died before he could be transferred to hospital.
Amess served in parliament since 1983, first representing Basildon and then, since 1997, Southend West. He had been involved in attempting to secure city-status for Southend-on-Sea and often worked across party lines on issues such as banning fox hunting and promoting animal welfare. He worked as a backbencher throughout his 40-year career, particularly focused on social conservative causes and constituency issues.
Statements were issued from across the political spectrum. Keir Starmer wrote: “Horrific and deeply shocking news. Thinking of David, his family and his staff.” Former Prime Minister David Cameron wrote: “This is the most devastating and tragic news. David Amess was a kind and thoroughly decent man and was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet. Words cannot express what happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David’s family.”
Amess’ death follows the murder of Jo Cox MP in 2016, days before the EU referendum. Her widow, Brendan Cox, wrote: “My thoughts and love are with David’s family. They are all that matter now. 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.”
This second attack will likely bring attention to the safety of MPs going forward.
Surgeries are freely open to the public and rarely are seen to need security, despite regular reports of physical threats and abuse.
David Amess was 69 and is survived by his wife and five children.