Sir David Amess dies: Somalian man, 25, arrested on suspicion of stabbing MP - latest news

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Police have arrested a Somalian man on suspicion of murdering the Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery.

Sir David, the MP for Southend West in Essex, was attacked on Friday at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

Paramedics tried for two hours to save the 69-year-old father-of-five, but he died of his injuries and figures across the political spectrum have paid tribute to the "irreplaceable" MP.

Essex Police said counter-terror officers were leading the investigation after a 25-year-old man was arrested, and officers were not looking for anybody else in connection with the incident.

A witness who described seeing the suspect being taken away by the police said he was calm and compliant.

Security sources confirmed that the suspect was believed to be a Somalian, but police were still seeking to establish a motive for the attack.

Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable Essex Police: "It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident."

Follow the latest below.

06:44 PM

Timeline: Attacks on MPs

06:38 PM

Jess Phillips: 'I genuinely can’t think of a bad word to say about him'

Our reporter Max Stephens is at the Cheltenham Literature Festival where MP Jess Phillips is promoting her book 'everything you really need to know about politics, my life as an MP'.

She said: "I genuinely can’t think of a bad word to say about him, and that is not the case of lots of my colleagues from all sides of the house.

"He was just a nice and really friendly man.

"Why anybody would want to attack somebody like this I have no idea, but then there is no rhyme or reason to it.

“But the way it makes me feel as a Member of Parliament it’s a sort of blankness, I don’t know how to feel or process it.

“It brings back horrendous memories of the same feeling when my friend Jo Cox was shot and killed.

"And it is a mixture of shock and genuine shock that just blanks you out.

"I have had about 700 messages from journalists and newscasters since it happened and it was announced literally an hour ago that he had died.

"I don’t have the space in my brain to think about the big implications to our democracy of these things or what the solutions are to what possibly could have gone wrong in this case.

"It’s just shock, I feel very very shocked and you have to try and not let that quiet shock turn into despair or immediately risk assess everything.

06:31 PM

'He was a devout and devoted man, he was the kindest of people'

Sir Roger Gale, who entered the Commons alongside Sir David Amess in the 1983 General Election, told Sky News how his friend was "funny, fun, dedicated and determined' and "never too serious but always serious at the right time" which was why he was "such an effective Member of Parliament". Watch the clip below.

Mike Wood, the Conservative MP for Dudley South, described how he had never "heard anybody - from any party - say a bad word" about Sir David.

Meanwhile, Defra minister Victoria Prentis shared a playful picture of the MP, saying that "no one could have done more for his constituents", referencing his campaign to have Southend recognised as a city, as well as work on less fashionable issues.

06:24 PM

Sir David remembered as 'Mr Southend' at vigil

Sir David Amess has been remembered as "Mr Southend" at a vigil held in his memory.

Born in east London, the 69-year-old had been Southend West MP since 1997 - and was a keen advocate of the town's bid for city status.

A service at Saint Peter's Church in Eastwood Lane, close to where Sir David was killed, was held on Friday evening to remember him - where he was described by a priest as "Mr Southend".

The church fell silent as Father Jeffrey Woolnaugh paid tribute to the Conservative MP and invited his constituents to remember him.

He placed a photograph of Sir David at the front of the church, and said: "This liturgy is one I was not expecting to lead today.

"The whole world grieves. In this Mass we pray for the repose of the soul of dear David.

"Have you ever known Sir David Amess without that happy smile on his face? Because the greeting he would always give you was that happy smile.

"He carried that great east London spirit of having no fear and being able to talk to people and the level they're at. Not all politicians, I would say, are good at that."

Around 80 people attended the service and listened as Father Woolnough recounted his own memories of Sir David.

He said: "When you can speak to your MP and you can talk and get on like a house on fire, that's when you can talk to them later about things that are important to your area.

"What can we say? He died doing the thing he loved, meeting his constituents, his local people."

Father Woolnough added that his constituents could "count on" Sir David, and said: "He was always available. We don't have the words tonight.

"Dear Sir David, rest well."

Those who attended the vigil were invited to light a candle and share their own memories of Sir David. A lone candle placed outside the church burned as the Tory MP's constituents remembered him.

06:22 PM

Speaker warns against knee jerk reactions, but safety measures 'always being looked at'

Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he has discussed the security of MPs with the Home Secretary following the killing of Sir David Amess.

He warned against "knee jerk reactions" but said safety measures for MPs are "always being looked at".

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "Obviously I won't go into the details of what we do, but I will say we won't sit on our laurels."

He added: "We don't want a knee jerk reaction now... of course we are going to be looking into these issues and I am speaking with the Home Secretary already. We are getting reassurances out there to MPs, and in fairness chief constables up and down this country are speaking to MPs to reassure them.

"It's about reassuring people at this stage, and then afterwards we will take further measures if we need to."

06:15 PM

Sir David was an 'exemplary parliamentarian'

Matthew Offord, the Conservative MP for Hendon, said Sir David would be "sorely missed" as he shared a picture of the pair together.

Paula Sherriff, the former Labour MP for Dewsbury, illustrated the level of cross-party affection for Sir David as she tweeted images of him at a dinner with a number of Labour colleagues, including former deputy party leader Tom Watson. Her caption says it all.

06:13 PM

Patel: Amess was a 'kind and loyal friend'

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, tweeted a touching picture of her alongside Sir David, gently holding his arm as they smile at each other.

Meanwhile, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell described how he was "utterly devastated" at losing his "oldest friend in the House and a close friend for four decades" as he shared an image of them together.

06:04 PM

Full statement from Priti Patel

A spokesman for Home Secretary Priti Patel: "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 Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course."

06:03 PM

Priti Patel orders all police forces to review MP security arrangements

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs "with immediate effect", a Home Office spokesman said.

06:01 PM

Reaction from man who Sir David gave first graduate job to

A government speechwriter has told how Sir David Amess MP gave him his first graduate job.

Ed Holmes, who works for the Department for International Trade, said: "Sir David Amess MP gave me my first proper job after university.

"Early on, I was absolutely terrified we had forgotten to tell him about an urgent call from David Cameron's office.

"Couldn't have bothered him less 'don't worry about that, Edward'. I don't think he ever returned it.

"That week his invitation to a local charity event in the constituency - the Leigh Duck race - went missing.

"Nothing was more important. We spent the entire afternoon turning the office upside down trying to find it.

"Another time I took a message from the Whips Office for him to call them.

"They said if David voted the right way on a piece of legislation, they would consider him for a ministerial role.

"When I told him, David just laughed (I don't think he ever returned that call either).

"But when he heard someone he knew in the constituency was seriously ill, he would call everyone he could think of.

"I remember listening to him late into the evening on the phone to some of the most senior medics in the land- nagging, cajoling, pleading for them to intervene.

"Even when they were clearly fed up of him- and even when it was clearly a hopeless case - David never stopped trying.

"No votes to be had, no cameras in sight. I think that's when I admired him the most.

"No MP could have been clearer about putting the needs of his constituents first - before party, ambition and everything else - than Sir David.

"My thoughts with Julia and his family at this dreadful time."

05:52 PM

The vigil, in pictures

Sir David Amess is displayed near the altar in St Peters Catholic Church before a vigil - Alberto Pezzali/AP
Sir David Amess is displayed near the altar in St Peters Catholic Church before a vigil - Alberto Pezzali/AP
A priest leads mass at the vigil - Jamie Lorriman
A priest leads mass at the vigil - Jamie Lorriman
Constituent Ruth Verrinder and former councillor and mayor Judith McMahon (right) light a candle at St Michael and All Angels Church - Dan Kitwood/Getty
Constituent Ruth Verrinder and former councillor and mayor Judith McMahon (right) light a candle at St Michael and All Angels Church - Dan Kitwood/Getty

05:49 PM

Essex PCC urges people to come forward with information

Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst urged anyone with information about the killing of Sir David Amess to contact the police.

"This is a shocking and utterly despicable attack against somebody who was an outstanding MP and has worked tirelessly for their community for many, many years," he said in a statement outside Southend police station.

"I know from personal experience the passion with which he stood up for and represented this community. He had a big heart.

"It is vital that we give the police all our support to ensure that they can do their job at this time. For anybody who has information, please do not hesitate to contact the police."

05:45 PM

Essex Police statement, in full

Just after midday, Essex Police were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Road North in Leigh-on-sea.

The response from the emergency services to this incident was immediate and our officers arrived on scene within minutes.

When they arrived, they found Sir David Amess MP who had suffered multiple injuries.

This was a difficult incident, but our officers and paramedics worked extremely hard to save Sir David.

Tragically, he died at the scene.

A 25-year-old man was arrested immediately at the scene on suspicion of murder.

He remains in custody.

A knife was also recovered at the scene.

The investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the specialist counter-terrorism command.

We made it clear at the time of the incident that we did not believe there was any immediate further threat to anybody else in the area.

It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.

But, as always, they will keep an open mind.

Today is a tragic day for the family and colleagues of Sir David, the community of Southend and indeed for the whole of greater Essex.

Sir David has dedicated his life to serving the communities of Essex and Southend and today he was simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short.

I know the residents of Essex and Southend West will stand with me today in remembering a member of our community.

Here at Essex Police, officers right across our force - and particularly in Southend - have enjoyed a longstanding and positive working relationship with Sir David.

And today's events will be hard to take for everyone who knew him.

Specially-trained family liaison officers are offering support to his family today.

Our officers will continue to work around the clock to ensure justice is delivered for Sir David and his family, and I'd like to thank the people of Southend for their understanding as the investigation continues.

I would urge anyone who has any information in relation to this terrible incident to call Essex Police on 101, online or via Crimestoppers.

Finally, I ask for everybody to respect the privacy of Sir David's family at this really difficult time and to say my personal thoughts having worked with Sir David and of course from all those from Essex Police and our prayers are with Sir David and his family at this difficult time.

05:31 PM

Counter-terror police part of investigation

Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable Essex Police, confirmed counter-terror police were leading the investigation and working with detectives to determine a motive.

He said Sir David Amess was "simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short".

05:25 PM

Priest describes killing as 'wicked and tragic act'

Father Woolnough described the killing as a "wicked and tragic act", reports Senior Reporter Patrick Sawer.

He said: "Being a good East End boy Sir David carried with him that great East End gift, the spirit of being able to talk to anyone.

"We need politicians who know how to listen and Sir David was that man. We could rely on him to listen to us and take our ideas forward."

05:11 PM

'The world needs to see this outpouring of grief'

Father Jeff Woolnough told the congregation of more than 50, several of them in tears, that the whole world was grieving for the loss of Mr Amess, our reporter at the scene Patrick Sawer reports.

He said: “He was much loved by many many people. The world needs to see this outpouring of grief.

“We have placed a photograph of David here to remember him, remember his wonderful smile, a smile that was genuine, that was sincere and that he now takes on his journey to his feast or.”

Father Woolnough said he had received calls from as far afield as the United States from people stunned at the news of Mr Amess’ death.

05:10 PM

Priest at vigil says 'the whole world grieves'

Father Woolnough described the liturgy as one that he "did not expect to be leading today".

He said: "The whole world grieves. In this Mass we pray for the repose of the soul of dear David."

Father Woolnough, who said Sir David was knighted in 2015, is now leading the church in a Mass.

05:09 PM

Union flags at half mast

05:07 PM

John Bercow: 'There is much toxicity in our politics'

The former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has described Sir David Amess as "an outstanding member of parliament”, warning “there is much toxicity in our politics".

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, he said: "He was an outstanding member of parliament, but he was also a loving and much loved human being.

"Conscientious, assiduous, dutiful, caring, passionate, principled … He was an indefatigable campaigner for what he believed to be right… and above all he was quintessentially a constituency parliamentarian.

"He could talk to and hear from and engage with anybody, from a monarch to the local milk person. He was a wonderful loving human being and we rue his loss.”

The former Speaker, who left his post in 2019, also said that ‘there is much toxicity in our politics’.

"Huge numbers of people are people of goodwill, and the vast majority of people -- almost without exception-- would deplore and deprecate in the strongest possible terms this gross and heinous act.

"It is an unspeakable barbarity. But the truth is there is much toxicity in our politics, and I think this should give us pause to think and reflect on how politics is conducted in the future and whether there are security improvements."

05:05 PM

Arrested man believed to be Somalian

It is understood the man being held on suspicion of murder is of Somalian origin.

A witness who described seeing him being taken away by the police said he was calm and compliant.

Security sources confirmed that the suspect was believed to be a Somalian.

But police were still seeking to establish what the motive for the attack was.

04:58 PM

Watch: Prime Minister's tribute to Sir David

04:56 PM

'We will all miss him'

04:41 PM

Floral tributes at the scene

Flowers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church - Yui Mok/PA
Flowers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church - Yui Mok/PA
Flowers and a ballon are pictured outside the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea - Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
Flowers and a ballon are pictured outside the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea - Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

04:39 PM

Sir Keir Starmer: 'We have, heartbreakingly, been here before'

04:33 PM

Tories suspend campaigning

Oliver Dowden announced: "In light of today’s tragic events we have decided it is appropriate to suspend all of our campaigning activities across the UK until further notice."

04:30 PM

Sir David the joker

04:28 PM

Khan: 'We can't cower from these attacks, but we've got to realise MPs are losing their lives'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that Members of Parliament "knock on doors to speak to the public" as part of their jobs.

He added: "We can't cower to these sorts of attacks, but we've got to realise MPs are losing their lives.

"I'm afraid we have to reexamine the security given to our politicians but we can't lose what's precious to our democracy for them to meet the people they represent."

04:24 PM

Priti Patel says questions 'rightly being asked' about MP safety

Home Secretary Priti Patel said questions are "rightly being asked" about the safety of MPs following the killing of Sir David Amess and she will "provide updates in due course".

She said: "I am devastated we have lost Sir David Amess. David was not only a fellow Essex MP, but a kind and loyal friend.

"David served the people of Southend with endless passion, energy and integrity. That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heartbreaking beyond words.

"It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself.

"Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country's elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course.

"My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with David's family and friends."

04:21 PM

Boris Johnson's statement, in full

I think all are hearts are filled with shock and sadness today at the loss of Sir David Amess MP, who was killed in his constituency surgery, in a church, after 40 years of continuous service to people in Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom.

The reason why people are so saddened is that he was one of kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.

He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.

Whether that be people suffering from endometriosis, ending cruelty to animals, or doing a huge amount to reduce to the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country.

David was a man who believed passionately in this country and its future.

We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much loved friend and colleague. Our thoughts are very much with his wife, his children and his family.

I think everybody was deeply shocked and heart stricken and our thoughts are very much with his family, with his wife and his children.

And for the rest we must really the police to get on with their investigation.

04:19 PM

More floral tributes arrive for Sir David

More floral tributes, including a blue balloon with a written message on it, have been laid close to Sir David Amess's surgery.

The message reads: "RIP We will miss you xx."

Police and press are watching on as members of the public lay flowers and tributes for him.

04:19 PM

'Almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex'

The Prime Minister said Sir David was killed in his constituency surgery, after "almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom".

He added: "The reason people are so shocked and sad 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."

04:19 PM

PM: 'David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future'

In a statement in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: "He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, passing laws to end cruelty to animals and doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty 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 much-loved friend and colleague.

"Our thoughts are very much with his wife, his children and his family."

04:14 PM

Boris Johnson: Our hearts are filled with 'shock' and 'sadness'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said all our hearts are filled with “shock” and “sadness”, as he reacted to the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

04:09 PM

Young boy comes to lay flowers

A young well-wisher leave flowers at the Police cordon - Martin Dalton/Shutterstock
A young well-wisher leave flowers at the Police cordon - Martin Dalton/Shutterstock

04:07 PM

What do we know so far?

  1. The Southend West MP Sir David Amess was fatally injured at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex at midday on Friday

  2. A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

  3. Police said a knife was recovered.

  4. Detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

  5. Sir David was holding a constituency surgery at the church on Friday lunchtime

04:03 PM

'Politics will be poorer without Sir David Amess'

There are few more heart-breaking traditions than the mounting of plaques in the chamber of the House of Commons in memory of MPs who have been killed in the pursuit of their work, writes The Telegraph's Tom Harris.

Five years ago the whole country paused in horror and disbelief as word emerged of the brutal killing of Jo Cox, a young mother who had served as a Labour MP for barely a year. Now we are again stunned and look on in disbelief as Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend, becomes the latest parliamentarian struck down as he served his own constituents.

Read Tom's piece in full here.

03:57 PM

Essex Police issue updated statement

Essex Police said: "We are now in a position to confirm the man who died in Leigh-on-Sea today was Sir David Amess MP.

"We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October) to reports Mr Amess, 69, had been stabbed.

"Despite the best efforts of paramedics, sadly, he died at the scene.

"A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

"We have recovered a knife from the scene and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

"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. We need anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to contact us."

03:50 PM

Tony Blair: 'A terrible and sad day for our democracy'

Former prime minister Tony Blair said he was "shocked and horrified" by the murder of Sir David Amess.

"David and I came into Parliament together in 1983," he said in a statement.

"Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.

"This is a terrible and sad day for our democracy."

03:47 PM

First flowers laid at police cordon

The first floral tribute has been laid at a police cordon following the death of Sir David Amess.

The tribute, laid by a young woman, read: "A silent thought, a quiet prayer, for a special person in God's care. May you rest in peace."

The cordon is still being manned by Essex Police as forensic officers carry out their investigations, which started after the Conservative MP was stabbed at around lunchtime on Friday

A member of the public leaves a bunch of flowers at a police cordon near the scene in Leigh-on-Sea - Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
A member of the public leaves a bunch of flowers at a police cordon near the scene in Leigh-on-Sea - Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

03:41 PM

Archbishop of Canterbury: This is a 'deep blow'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the death of Sir David Amess is "a deep blow" to the UK and democracy.

"The death of a father, husband and friend is agonisingly painful for those who loved him," he said in a statement posted to Twitter.

"The murder of an MP, in the course of caring for their constituents, is a deep blow to this country, its citizens and everyone who desires a peaceful and flourishing democracy.

"Sir David Amess dedicated his life to championing causes he believed in, serving constituents and his country for almost forty years as a Member of Parliament.

"The only antidote to violence and hatred is love and unity. In this horrific and tragic moment we must come together, across political difference, and be the light that refuses to be cowed by darkness."

03:39 PM

Mayor was in meeting with PM when news broke

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris said he was in a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Rolls-Royce factory in Bristol when the news broke.

"I was with the Prime Minister today when he found out and he mentioned something significant had happened with a colleague and that he needed to leave," Mr Norris said.

"I found out later on like everyone else what had befallen David."

He added: "I am just in shock and cannot imagine what his five children and wife Julia are going through.

"I had a deep respect for David and personally I regret not having lunch with him, which we had suggested when I bumped into him in Westminster last year."

03:38 PM

Bristol Mayor says MPs will have to change the way they work

Bristol's metro mayor has said British politicians will have to change the way they work in future to better protect their own safety, following the death of MP Sir David Amess.

Dan Norris, the former MP for Wansdyke, told the PA news agency: "I had experiences of violence as a member of Parliament, it's a modern part of the job for some of us. But too many politicians have now been attacked or killed.

"Politicians are often reluctant to make changes that will make them safer because they want to be available to the public, unfortunately that makes them vulnerable. I think it will have to happen now or more instances like this will occur."

He added: "This was just a man doing his job. And his family and friends will have to bear the scars of what happened to him."

03:36 PM

Jeremy Hunt: 'This news is a punch in the face'

Former Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt has paid tribute to his "dear friend".

He said: "This news is a punch in the face.

I worked with David on maternity safety and mental health for young people about which he was passionate.

"He was kind and fun - and you always left him with a smile on your face.

"Today we are left with nothing but grief. RIP dear friend."

03:34 PM

Vigil expected at 6pm

Sir David's local priest is to hold a vigil tonight at 6pm.

It will be held at St Peter’s church in Eastwood

03:27 PM

Boris Johnson statement from Downing Street

We're expecting a statement from the Prime Minister at 5.30pm.

You can watch it live here.

03:26 PM

Nadine Dorries: 'He was the greatest amongst all in Westminster'

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted: "He was void of ego. Compassion, kindness and love for his family (and his dogs) left no room for all that nonsense.

"He was the greatest amongst all in Westminster, there only to serve his beloved constituency. Along with all of my colleagues, I'm in total shock."

03:25 PM

Sir John Major: 'My heart goes out to his family'

Former prime minister Sir John Major has paid tribute to Sir David Amess.

He said in a statement: "This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who - for over 30 years - was a dedicated public servant.

"My heart goes out to his family."

03:22 PM

MPs in tears as they remember Sir David

MPs cried as they remembered their colleague's spirit and contribution to public life.

Through tears, one told The Telegraph: "He was such a wonderful, golden-hearted man. I just feel really very sad."

03:15 PM

Theresa May: 'A tragic day for our democracy'

Former prime minster Theresa May said: "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."

03:13 PM

Huge armed police presence at church

Essex Police at the scene in Southend on Friday where MP Sir David Amess was stabbed - Eastnews Press Agency
Essex Police at the scene in Southend on Friday where MP Sir David Amess was stabbed - Eastnews Press Agency

03:11 PM

Essex MP: 'We will all miss him very much'

Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, who is MP for nearby Epping Forest, said: the news that Sir David Amess had been killed was "utterly devastating".

She added: "He was such a gentleman, a principled parliamentarian, a devoted father, a devout Christian and a really nice chap.

"We will all miss him very much. My thoughts are with his family."

03:09 PM

10 Downing St flag lowered to half mast

The flag above 10 Downing Street is being lowered to half mast.

A worker lowers the British Union flag after MP Sir David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery - Toby Melville/Reuters
A worker lowers the British Union flag after MP Sir David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery - Toby Melville/Reuters

03:07 PM

Sir David's approachability left him 'vulnerable', says local Tory councillor

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".

He said: "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."

03:05 PM

Speaker of the House: 'This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the country'

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: "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, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues."

03:03 PM

Prime Minister arrives back at Downing Street

The Prime Minister's motorcade has arrived back at Downing Street, after returning from Bristol where media opportunities to film the start of a meeting were cancelled.

Boris Johnson driven back to Downing Street - Aaron Chown/PA
Boris Johnson driven back to Downing Street - Aaron Chown/PA

03:03 PM

Latest from the scene

A large police presence remains on the tree lined street in Southend.

The road has been cordoned off with police tape in two locations.

Armed police are outside the Methodist church where the veteran MP was attacked at midday.

Friends of Sir David have been at the scene paying tributes including Reverend Clifford Newman who said his thoughts were with Sir David’s family.

"There is no justification for this at all, and there never can be", he said.

Members of the public including dozens of local school children are stood close to the cordon watching as the investigation continues.

03:02 PM

Tory MP recalls entering house with Sir David in 1983

Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale tweeted: "David and I entered the House together in 1983 and I regard him as a dear friend and a brave and compassionate MP.

"The loss to his family, who David always put first, and to the House is appalling.

"But David died doing what David always did - looking after his constituents."

03:01 PM

'The tragedy is that he will have left this morning with his usual smile'

Shailesh Vara, Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire, friend and colleague of Sir David, said the MP "always put his constituents first".

"David was a lovely man and a dear friend of mine... and today is an enormous tragedy for his loved ones, his friends and actually the whole of Parliament and the nation," he told Sky News.

"David had been a parliamentarian for nearly 40 years... and was loved by his constituents. He was a determined constituency MP... he was always putting his constituents first.

"But above all he was a wonderful and lovely man and always had advice to give to people.

"The tragedy is that he will have left this morning with his usual smile, with his usual good humour, as events have unfolded, he won't be returning home and that is a real, real tragedy for his family."

02:57 PM

'This is how I will remember David'

02:50 PM

Truss: 'He was a lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian'

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: "Devastated to hear the terrible news about Sir David Amess MP.

"He was a lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian. My thoughts are with all his family and friends."

02:50 PM

Lord Eric Pickles says constituency surgeries 'is part of the job'

Lord Eric Pickles told Sky News: "Obviously it is terribly sad and tragic news. He was a great family man, a great local constituency mp somebody who cared deeply about ethics."

On constituency surgeries: "Friday mornings and Friday afternoons is a very common time for MPs to have their constituency surgeries. I used to hold mine on a Friday.

He said: "I used to like to know who was coming to mine," adding that, "if you are being really really blunt sometimes it [the surgeries] attracts obsessives and you need to have a degree of circumspection."

Face-to-face constituencies had only recently resumed. When asked if we needed to have a discussion again about MPs security, he replied: "No, it is part of the job. It is something you sign up to. "

He added: "Part of David's accessibility was one of the reasons he was such an effective operator inside parliament and inside politics."

When pressed on the "it is part of the job" comment and what it says about society, he said: "It is tragic, it is dreadful but it is not normal. That terrible attack on Stephen Timm which pleasingly had a happier outcome. It happens and it may be that MPs may take the basic precautions of getting a name and an address before they see somebody or getting the outline of a case before they see somebody."

He added: "When you’re dealing with people who are very emotional, who feel like the system has let down, often they’re looking for someone to blame. But if we close up shop, and disappear behind a security bubble, then it’s democracy itself that’ll be the lesser thing.”

02:48 PM

Sunak: 'The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: "The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most.

"Today it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague. All my thoughts and prayers are with Sir David's loved ones."

02:48 PM

Boris Johnson statement imminent

The Prime Minister is to make a statement this afternoon, The Telegraph understands.

02:45 PM

Archbishop of York: 'It is hard to make sense of the horror of what has happened'

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, said: "I had the great honour of calling David Amess a friend when I was Bishop of Chelmsford.

"He was the MP for the constituency where I grew up, and not only did he always faithfully serve those people and that place, but had a particular concern for the Christian community born of his own deeply held Christian faith as a member of the Roman Catholic community.

"It is shocking that someone so dedicated to his community and public service was the victim of such violence as he went about his elected duty.

"It is hard to make sense of the horror of what has happened this afternoon but he and his family and those he loves are in my prayers."

02:43 PM

Penny Mordaunt shares touching video

02:42 PM

David Davis: 'We have all lost a good friend'

Conservative MP and former Cabinet minister David Davis tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and staff of Sir David Amess.

"He was a thoroughly kind and decent man who above all else cared strongly for his constituents and worked hard for them over his distinguished career. We have all lost a good friend."

02:40 PM

Locals respond to the 'senseless' killing

Channel 4's Countdown mathematician Rachel Riley, who attended Southend High for Girls, described the suspected murder as "senseless"

Sir David had repeatedly supported her mother Celia Riley's work with the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society.

Riley tweeted: "David Amess has helped support my Mum's local charity work on many occasions, this is senseless. Thinking of him and his family and friends today."

Alan Dear, chairman of Belfairs Conservatives, said: "I feel sick to be honest. He's a lovely man. I have no idea who might have done this."

According to Sir David's website, his constituency surgeries are held on the first and third Friday each month from 10am to 1pm.

02:39 PM

How the Cabinet was alerted to Sir David's stabbing

The Cabinet was alerted to Sir David's stabbing while holding an away day in the South West this morning, The Telegraph understands.

Harry Yorke reports that Boris Johnson and senior ministers were informed through official channels of the attack shortly after they convened the meeting at 1pm, according to sources.

However, the severity of the attack was not clear until the end of the meeting.

It is understood that Mr Johnson is due to deliver a statement shortly.

The Conservative Party is also expected to cancel all political campaigning for an unspecified period.

02:38 PM

London Mayor Sadiq Khan reacts to death

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.

02:36 PM

Lib Dem leader: 'A truly terrible day for British politics'

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: "This is tragic and horrible news. My thoughts are with David's wife and children, the wider family, friends and David's community.

"A truly terrible day for British politics but most importantly of all our prayers are with all the people who loved David."

02:36 PM

Police officers remain at the scene

Emergency services at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex - Nick Ansell/PA
Emergency services at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex - Nick Ansell/PA

02:35 PM

Raab: Sir David was a formidable campaigner with a big heart

The Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said: "Heartbroken that we have lost Sir David Amess MP.

"A great common sense politician and a formidable campaigner with a big heart, and tremendous generosity of spirit - including towards those he disagreed with. RIP my friend."

02:34 PM

'Everyone in public life should be able to go about their business without fear of attack'

Responding to the sad death of Sir David Amess MP, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir David Amess MP. On behalf of the whole of local government, I send our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this extraordinarily difficult time.

"David was a dedicated MP who worked tirelessly for his constituents and on behalf of everyone in Parliament.

"As Chairman of the Fire and Safety APPG, he also worked hard alongside many, including councils, to try and improve fire and building safety - a crucial piece of work for so many.

"Everyone in public life should be able to go about their daily business without fear of attack. To lose his life in such terrible circumstances is tragic."

02:32 PM

Gove: 'Passing is heart-breakingly sad'

Communities Secretary Michael Gove tweeted: "David Amess's passing is heart-breakingly sad. Just terrible, terrible news.

"He was a good and gentle man, he showed charity and compassion to all, his every word and act were marked by kindness. My heart goes out to his family."

02:32 PM

Sir David pictured outside the constituency surgery where he was killed

Sir David Amess MP outside the Belfairs Methodist Church - Pixel GRG
Sir David Amess MP outside the Belfairs Methodist Church - Pixel GRG

02:30 PM

Welsh politicians pay tribute

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear about the death of Sir David Amess. A truly despicable and horrifying act.

"My thoughts are with his friends, family, and constituency staff during this distressing time."

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: "Shocked and deeply saddened to hear this terrible news.

"Sir David was one of the kindest, most decent and deeply committed politicians I’ve ever known.

"It was an honour to call him a friend. My thoughts are with his loved ones during this awful time."

02:29 PM

Lord Eric Pickles: 'He cared passionately'

02:22 PM

Cabinet minister react to the death of Sir David

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: "Devastated to learn of Sir David Amess' murder. A great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role.

"My heart goes out to Julia, his family, and all who loved him. Let us remember him and what he did with his life."

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps described Sir David Amess as "a true parliamentarian".

He tweeted: "Awful, tragic news about David.

"A dedicated, thoughtful man and a true Parliamentarian, who lost his life while serving the constituents who he worked relentlessly for throughout his career.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

02:21 PM

Sir David wrote book, mentioning how Jo Cox murder ruined British tradition of public meeting MPs

02:19 PM

'Heartbroken. I feel sick. I am lost'

Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch tweeted: "Heartbroken. I could write reams on how Sir David was one of the kindest, most compassionate, well liked colleagues in Parliament. But I can't. I feel sick. I am lost.

"Rest in Peace. A little light went out in Parliament today. We will miss you."

02:17 PM

Local Tory pays tribute to 'true constituency MP'

Judith Canham, deputy chair of the local Conservative club, said Sir David was a "true constituency MP" and a "friend to everyone".

"I just can't believe it, how anybody could harm a kind man like David I don't know," she told Sky News.

"Words can't say, he's such a lovely man who is liked across the parties... he gets on with everybody.

"I cannot understand how anybody could be so wicked and cruel to hurt this kind man.

"He is a true constituency MP. If there has been anything going on in the town, functions... anything really that he's been invited to, he's always turned up to give his support.

"He's a friend to everyone, he has his strong opinions... (but) he's got a photographic memory and seems to remember everyone and took an interest in everybody.

"I'm terribly in shock. I burst into tears as soon as I heard because we do love him dearly.

"Nobody's perfect in life but he's as near perfect as a constituency member of Parliament. I'm just praying... we need him and the country needs him."

02:15 PM

Brendan Cox reacts to death of Sir David

02:09 PM

Pictures from the scene

Police outside the church - Nick Ansell/PA
Police outside the church - Nick Ansell/PA
A police car and officers outside the surgery - Nick Ansell/PA
A police car and officers outside the surgery - Nick Ansell/PA

02:08 PM

Carrie Johnson pays tribute to 'enormous animal lover and true gent'

The Prime Minister's wife said: "Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess.

"He was hugely kind and good.

"An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children."

02:06 PM

MP calls for review of politicians' security

Calls for a review of MPs' security have already begun, as politicians process the death of their colleague, writes Political Correspondent Tony Diver.

"This is the third time, and every time we say that we will never let it happen again, and nothing changes," one MP told The Telegraph.

"We are all exposed, and we all hold surgeries and everyone knows who we are and where we live. There is a serious problem.

"I think there needs to be a serious independent review of MPs' security.

"The wonderful thing about MPs is that they are accessible to the public, but there is going to have to be a serious review on MPs security and some proper action.

"I don't know the answer, I don't know if we need police officers there or security guards.

"The only way you can stop it is if someone is protecting them."

02:04 PM

Full Essex Police statement

A man has been arrested on suspicion of 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.

We want to thank the public who alerted us to the incident so quickly.

02:04 PM

Corbyn: 'Nobody should be under threat doing their job'

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "My thoughts and concerns are with David Amess' family at such a shocking time.

"Nobody should be under threat doing their job."

02:03 PM

MP dies

Sir David Amess has died.

Essex Police said a man has died after reports that Conservative MP Sir David Amess had been stabbed multiple times at a constituency surgery.

01:58 PM

Sir David advertised his surgery on Twitter

01:56 PM

Amess stabbing latest attack on MPs in their constituencies

The stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess is the latest attack on MPs in their constituencies, including the murder of Jo Cox.

The country was rocked when the 41-year-old Labour MP for Batley and Spen was shot and stabbed in her constituency by a far-right supporter on June 16, 2016.

In May 2010, East Ham MP Stephen Timms was stabbed twice in the abdomen by Roshonara Choudhry, an Islamic extremist who claimed she had wanted "to get revenge for the people of Iraq".

Mr Timms suffered serious injuries and according to police was "extremely fortunate not to have been killed". He remains an MP.

Nigel Jones, then MP for Cheltenham, was severely injured in January 2000 when he was attacked in his offices by a man with a sword.

Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councillor, was killed in the same attack while trying to defend the then-MP.

He was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery.

The attacker, Robert Ashman, had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was deemed unfit to stand trial and was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital.

01:55 PM

Witness describes current scene

Describing the sequence of events and the current scene, witness Anthony Finch said he believed the MP was still being treated inside the church where the incident had taken place.

"We arrived to do some work on the adjacent building... and at the point when I was crossing the road I saw an upset lady on the phone saying 'you need to arrive quickly, he's still in the building'," he told Sky News.

"I went into the client's house... came back out and there were loads of armed police, overhead there was an air ambulance as well as a police helicopter. Obviously wondered what the hell was going on, you don't often see armed police around the local area.

"I saw the suspect get put into a police van, get taken away and then they cordoned the whole road and pushed us all down the road.

"What we then heard was that it was David Amess."

He added: "The air ambulance has parked in a field nearby... I assume they're fighting to save his life and then they will take him away in the air ambulance."

01:54 PM

'Lost for words'

David Garston, shadow cabinet member for community safety, has sent his thoughts and prayers to Sir David and hopes he "pulls through".

He told local paper The Echo: "I'm utterly lost for words, it's absolutely dreadful. "One of my friends who is a former councillor phoned me and told me, my initial reaction was just horror.

"I have so much admiration for Sir David, he's one of the best constituency MPs in the whole country. "I've known him since 1983, and met him when I was the mayor of Southend.

"In 2015 I moved from Southend East to Southend West, and so he's also been my MP for the last six years.

"He's been out with us on street surgeries and door knocking, and he's very passionate the people he represents."

01:52 PM

Health Secretary reacts to attack

01:52 PM

Sturgeon wishes Amess 'full and speedy recovery'

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support to Sir David Amess, writing: "Dreadful news.

"Wishing David Amess a full and speedy recovery".

01:51 PM

Iain Duncan Smith: Social media echo chamber exacerbates anger issues

Conservative MP and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said social media gives people with "genuine problems over anger or issues" an "echo chamber and often makes it worse".

He said this has been seen in threats made to MPs, female MPs and women in general, adding that the commentary is "often very violent, very angry".

Sir Iain told the BBC News channel: "Right now we have no idea obviously who and why and what the rationale was behind this dreadful attack, and therefore the only thing I can bring to this is to say that we are all praying desperately for David's full recovery and for his family."

01:49 PM

Harriet Harman 'absolutely horrified'

Harriet Harman, Labour MP, said: "Absolutely horrified about attack on David Amess at constituency advice surgery. My thoughts with him and his family.

"Everyone on all sides of the House will be wishing him well."

01:47 PM

Huge police response

A huge police presence at the scene - John Keeble/Getty
A huge police presence at the scene - John Keeble/Getty

01:45 PM

'We are waiting'

A spokesman for Sir David's office in Westminster said: "The incident has happened. I don’t know what the incident is. We are still waiting."

An employee of Jean’s Laundry, near Belfair’s Methodist Church, said she did not know anything about the situation but had seen emergency service vehicles go by.

"We just saw all the police and the ambulances turning up, it was probably about half past 12 or just before then,” she told the PA news agency.

"I saw about two or three ambulances and then an undercover police car and other police cars going past.

"There’s usually people walking past, elderly people walking to the shops.

"We’ve still got no idea what’s going on, we’re not very busy on a Friday and no one has come in to talk to us about it.”

01:44 PM

Air ambulance leaves scene

The air ambulance has just left the scene in Essex.

It was not clear if anybody was in it.

01:44 PM

Iain Duncan Smith 'very worried' about multiple stabbing

Conservative MP and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said he is "very worried" to have heard Sir David Amess was stabbed "a number of times, not just once".

He told the BBC News channel: "Obviously at the moment right now all I can think of are prayers for him and his family, him for a safe recovery, and them for the most terrible emotions they must be going through.

"The reality for us is that we see constituents all the time, both in their houses and in surgeries.

"We're out and about, we're always available, we must be available, it's the most critical bit of what makes the British parliamentary system I think one of the most accessible in the world, and that's because we want it that way.

"We don't want to be cowed or frightened into doing something different, and I certainly won't, and I know my colleagues will feel the same.

"So I hope this is resolved very, very quickly, as I say, but we will certainly want to continue the way that we do things.

"Of course there may be some other elements that may be added to it, but notwithstanding that I want my constituents to have full access and I'm sure David would have felt the same."

01:41 PM

'Horrified' MP reacts

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, who became a Tory MP after the 2019 General Election, said he was "horrified to hear of the attack".

He tweeted: "He has always been so kind and helpful to me as a new MP and before that - as someone who worked in Westminster.

"Genuinely one of the good guys - thoughts and prayers with him, his family and constituents."

01:40 PM

Amess 'such a good man and dedicated public servant'

Damian Collins, the Conservative chair of the Joint Select Committee on the Online Safety Bill and Folkestone MP, said the news was "shocking".

He described Sir David Amess as "such a good man and dedicated public servant", adding "our prayers are with you David".

Tory colleague Simon Jupp, the MP for East Devon, said: "Horrific news about David Amess MP. My thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time."

01:40 PM

Hilary Benn 'deeply distressed and shocked'

Conservative MP for Buckingham Greg Smith tweeted: "Horrific news about Sir David Amess. Thoughts and prayers with him for a full recovery."

Meanwhile, Labour grandee Hilary Benn told his followers: "We are all deeply distressed and shocked to hear about David Amess. Thinking of you David and your family."

01:39 PM

Pictures of the police response

Emergency response to David Amess stabbing - Anthony Fitch
Emergency response to David Amess stabbing - Anthony Fitch
An armed police officer inside the cordon  - Anthony Fitch
An armed police officer inside the cordon - Anthony Fitch

01:37 PM

Zahawi 'shocked' by reports

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: "Shocked to hear the reports coming out of Southend West.

"Sir David is a committed public servant as well as a close colleague and friend. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this difficult time."

01:30 PM

Witness saw woman running out of church

A local shop worker said he saw the aftermath of the incident at Belfairs Methodist Church, where Sir David Amess was attacked.

Lee Jordison walked around to the church from Hicks butchers where he works after seeing emergency services, including armed police and an air ambulance, rushing to the scene.

"We could see a police cordon set up... (someone outside) told me a woman had come out screaming on the phone, saying 'someone's been stabbed, please get here soon'," the 40-year-old said.

"There was a lot of talk at the church that it was (Sir David) and plenty of people had seen him outside saying hello to people outside the church 20 minutes before.

"It's very shocking... I've worked up here and lived up here all my life and never seen anything like this - it's terrible news."

01:29 PM

Aerial images of scene of the stabbing

An aerial view of the church where David Amess was stabbed - Sky News
An aerial view of the church where David Amess was stabbed - Sky News
Emergency services seen outside the church, within the police cordon - Sky News
Emergency services seen outside the church, within the police cordon - Sky News

01:26 PM

Sadiq Khan: 'Truly awful news'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "Truly awful news. My thoughts and prayers are with David Amess MP, his family, staff and the community at this incredibly difficult time."

01:25 PM

Brendan Cox: 'There is no excuse, no justification'

Brendan Cox, widower of late Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in an attack in 2016, described the stabbing of Sir David Amess as "as cowardly as it gets".

He tweeted: "Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself. There is no excuse, no justification. It is as cowardly as it gets."

01:23 PM

Rayner 'hopes' David Amess 'pulls through'

Shadow defence minister Chris Evans tweeted: "Absolutely horrified at the news in Southend. David Amess is one of that [sic] kindest men I have ever met. Praying for him now."

DUP MP Carla Lockhart asked her followers to "please pray for Sir David Amess MP" describing him as an "absolute gentleman and someone who has been an immense help to me since getting elected to Westminster".

She ended her tweet: "Just dreadful to think that someone would do this."

Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said she was "horrified" at the news, adding "on behalf of all of us in the Labour Party I want to say all of our thoughts are with David and we all hope that he pulls through and is ok".

Ms Rayner had faced criticism last month for calling Tories "scum" at a Labour party conference event.

In October last year she apologised for using the slur in the Commons chamber against Conservative MP Chris Clarkson.

01:21 PM

MP stabbed at surgery in 2010 reacts to attack

East Ham MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed at a constituency surgery in 2010, wrote on Twitter: "Appalled to hear of the attack on David Amess today.

"I know him well and am thinking of him with very best wishes as we await further news."

01:20 PM

Witness saw someone being taken out of building into police car

One witness called the incident "very distressing" and described seeing someone being taken out of the building and put into the back of a police car, before he was asked to leave the area.

"At that point obviously we knew something serious had happened," he told LBC.

"Within five minutes we'd been informed by someone who was actually in the building what had happened and apparently he (Sir David Amess) had been stabbed quite a few times. It's very distressing that's for sure."

He added: "It's a nice area... it's not something that you'd see happening round this area that's for sure.

"It's just a residential street with a Methodist church on the road and you don't often hear of things like this going on down this way.

"To have it next door to where you're working is obviously very upsetting and very unlike what it's like round here. It's very odd and it's very distressing, that's for sure."

01:20 PM

Eyewitnesses describe MP stabbing aftermath

Two hours after the stabbing, Sir David was still being treated at the scene, according to eyewitnesses, writes Associate Editor Gordon Rayner.

John Lamb, a Conservative councillor who rushed to the church when he heard what had happened, said: "He was doing a surgery in the Methodist church here to speak to local people and pick up on their problems.

"I'm told that when he went in for his surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him.

"He was with a female member of staff from his constituency office and another female member of staff from his Parliamentary office.

"It's two hours since it happened and they are still working on him here - he hasn't been taken to hospital yet."

Mr Lamb, chairman of the Southend West constituency association, said: "He is one of the reasons I became a councillor in 1997-98.

"There was a problem we wanted sorting - it's so long ago I can't even remember what it was now - but he asked me to come and join him so I did.

"He is very involved in the community and a lovely man."

01:17 PM

DUP MP: 'No denying upsurge in aggression toward elected representatives'

The DUP's Jim Shannon MP said: "I'm sickened by the brutal attack on Sir David Amess in his surgery today.

"There's no denying the upsurge in aggression toward elected reps to the extent that we're having to take extra measures to protect ourselves & staff in our offices.

"This violence can never be justified."

01:16 PM

Jo Cox Foundation 'horrified' to hear news of attack

The charity tweeted: "The Jo Cox Foundation is horrified to hear the news of the attack on Sir David Amess MP. We are thinking of him, his family and loved ones at this distressing time."

01:14 PM

Boris Johnson cancels media plans

Media opportunities to film the start of the Cabinet meeting were cancelled, as was a planned interview with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which was due to take place afterwards.

It is unclear whether the Cabinet meeting is going ahead.

01:13 PM

Miliband and Cameron have their say

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Deeply concerned about the terrible news. All of my thoughts are with David and his family."

Meanwhile former Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Very alarming and worrying news reports coming from Leigh-on-Sea.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Sir David Amess and his family."

01:12 PM

Map of the church

01:11 PM

'It does look very serious'

Conservative councillor and former Southend mayor, John Lamb, who is at the scene, said: "I was indoors when I got a phone call just before midday about this, I am so shocked.

"At the moment, all we know is that David has been stabbed several times.

"He is still at the church and they won’t let us go in to see him. It does look very serious."

01:10 PM

'A man more dedicated to his constituents you could not ever hope to meet'

David Amess' friend and MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine said: "Utterly shocked by the news about my friend and colleague David Amess.

"A man more dedicated to his constituents you could not ever hope to meet. To have been attacked like this during a surgery is horrific.

"Praying for him and his family just now."

01:09 PM

Starmer reacts

01:08 PM

'Utterly awful and deeply shocking news'

Former Tory MP Steve Norris said: "Appalled by the attack on my dear friend David Amess.

"Thoughts with him and his family. Unbelievable that anyone should do this to such a decent hard working MP."

Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, reacted to the reports and said: "Utterly awful and deeply shocking news.

"Praying for David, his family and all those treating him right now."

01:06 PM

Iain Duncan Smith: 'This angry, violent behaviour cannot be tolerated'

Conservative MP and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith tweeted: "My thoughts are with David Amess MP and his family at this awful time. "Praying for a full recovery following this appalling, shocking news.

This angry, violent behaviour cannot be tolerated in politics or any other walk of life..."

01:06 PM

The stabbing incident, in pictures

The Belfairs Methodist Church where Mr Amess was holding a surgery
The Belfairs Methodist Church where Mr Amess was holding a surgery
Police swoop on church - Essex Echo
Police swoop on church - Essex Echo
Police cordon as MP is treated - Essex Echo
Police cordon as MP is treated - Essex Echo

01:03 PM

MP still in church, source tells Telegraph

A local authority source told The Telegraph that Mr Amess was still inside the church receiving treatment.

The source is outside the church, but has not been allowed beyond the police cordon.

"I can tell you there's a big cordon, and there's armed police about. He's still in there. But I hear it's very serious."

12:58 PM

MPs react to news

Colleagues of Sir David Amess are expressing their shock and horror at news that he was stabbed today while holding a constituency surgery.

Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative party leader, said: My thoughts are with David Amess MP and his family at this awful time. Praying for a full recovery following this appalling, shocking news. This angry, violent behaviour cannot be tolerated in politics or any other walk of life."

David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, said: "Shocked at the news about my friend David Amess. Very much hope he’s OK."

Labour's Luke Pollard added: "Horrific news coming from Southend about David Amess being stabbed multiple times. There really are no words. Sending all my best wishes to him, his team and family."

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