Șir David Amess: Boris Johnson pays tribute to ‘kind and gentle’ Tory MP stabbed to death in church

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Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed while meeting constituents in Essex. (Getty)
Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed while meeting constituents in Essex. (Getty)

The Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed at a constituency surgery in a church in Essex.

The long-serving MP for Southend West was repeatedly stabbed at Belfairs Methodists Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday.

Paramedics arrived to provide medical attention but Sir David tragically died at the scene.

Boris Johnson described Sir David as "one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics". 

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

Essex police said counter-terrorism officers were leading the investigation and that a 25-year-old male had been arrested and remains in custody. A knife was recovered from the scene.

Flowers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery. A man has been arrested and officers are not looking for anyone else. Picture date: Friday October 15, 2021.
Tributes were left to Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery (PA Images)

The Telegraph has reported the suspect is a Somali national.

Sir David had been an MP since 1983 and was married with five children. He is the second MP to have been killed in five years following the murder of Jo Cox on 16 June 2016 and his death has renewed concerns that MPs do not receive adequate protection.

Flowers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery. A man has been arrested and officers are not looking for anyone else. Picture date: Friday October 15, 2021.
(PA Images)

Cox's sister and Labour MP Kim Leadbeater said the situation felt "very raw." She added: "I know the rollercoaster that they'll be on."

Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, said a review would take place that would examine MPs’ security. The home secretary Priti Patel added: "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."

Tributes have poured in for a man described as a kind and dedicated MP from across the political spectrum.

Read more:
Profile:
'Sir David Amess - a 'kind and dedicated’ MP
Sir David Amess pleaded with PM to tackle 'senseless' knife murders 7 months ago

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described him as a "lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian". 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Sir David had "a profound sense of duty" and sent his condolences to his family.

Watch: David Amess asks Boris Johnson to tackle 'senseless' knife crime

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."

Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news". He added that Sir David "loved being an MP and was a great public servant".

Judith Canham, deputy chair of the local Conservative club, described Sir David as a “true constituency MP” and a “friend to everyone”.

LEIGH-ON-SEA, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Police officers attend following the stabbing of UK Conservative MP Sir David Amess as he met with constituents at a constituency surgery on October 15, 2021 in Leigh-on-Sea, England. Sir David Amess, 69, Conservative MP for Southend West from Basildon, has died after being stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery taking place in Belfair Methodist Church. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
Police officers on the scene after the stabbing. (Getty Images)
LEIGH-ON-SEA, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Police officers and ambulance crew attend following the stabbing of UK Conservative MP Sir David Amess as he met with constituents at a constituency surgery on October 15, 2021 in Leigh-on-Sea, England. Sir David Amess,69, Conservative MP for Basildon, has been stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery taking place in Belfair Methodist Church. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
Police officers and ambulance crew attend following the stabbing of UK Conservative MP Sir David Amess on Friday. (Getty)

“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. "

Essex police said in a statement: "A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in #LeighonSea. We were called to Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm. Sadly, a man later died. A man was arrested at the scene. We are not looking for anyone else."

David Amess - Conservative MP Southend West. (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)
David Amess - Conservative MP Southend West. (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)
David Amess stabbing: The location of the incident (PA)
David Amess stabbing: The location of the incident (PA)

“Officers were on scene shortly after, arrested a man and recovered a knife. He is currently in custody.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident."

'A little light has gone out'

MPs from all parties responded to the news, describing the incident as "shocking" and "horrific".

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.”

The scene in Leigh, Southend-on-Sea on Friday afternoon after the reported stabbing. (Twitter/@LeeJordo1)
The scene in Leigh, Southend-on-Sea on Friday afternoon after the reported stabbing. (Twitter/@LeeJordo1)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Elected representatives from across the political spectrum will be united in sadness and shock today.

“In a democracy, politicians must be accessible and open to scrutiny, but no-one deserves to have their life taken while working for and representing their constituents.”

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.”

David Amess - Basildon MP. (1992)
Credit: EssexLive/BPM
Sir David, 69, represented the constituency of Southend West in Essex (Credit: Reach)

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.”

Brendan Cox, widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, 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.”

The Jo Cox Foundation said in a statement that all elected representatives "deserve to be safe". It added: "All violence and abuse against them is utterly unacceptable." 

Floral tributes and candles are placed by a picture of slain Labour MP Jo Cox at a vigil in Parliament square in London on June 16, 2016.
Cox died today after a shock daylight street attack, throwing campaigning for the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union into disarray just a week before the crucial vote.
 / AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS        (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
The MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in June 2016. (Getty Images)

A number of former prime ministers also paid tribute. Theresa May called it a "tragic day for our democracy" while Sir John Major said: “This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who – for over 30 years – was a dedicated public servant."

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

Flowers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery. A man has been arrested and officers are not looking for anyone else. Picture date: Friday October 15, 2021.
Well-wishers leave flowers at the scene. (PA)
Armed police officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery. A man has been arrested and officers are not looking for anyone else. Picture date: Friday October 15, 2021.
Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, where the attack took place. (PA)
The Union flags above Downing Street have been lowered to half mast after Conservative MP Sir David Amess died, he was stabbed several times at a surgery in his Southend West constituency. A man has been arrested over the incident in Eastwood Road north, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, and officers are not looking for anyone else. Picture date: Friday October 15, 2021.
The Union flags above Downing Street have been lowered to half mast. (PA)

Long-serving MP

Sir David was one of the longest-serving MPs in parliament, and had represented Southend West, Essex, since 1997.

He was widely known and admired across Westminster as being dedicated to his constituency, which included a long-running campaign to make Southend a city.

In December 2019, he secured an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the campaign and told MPs: “I am not messing around.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10:  David Amess MP poses for photographers with his dogs Lily and Bo as MP's and their dogs wait for the results of the Westminster Dog of The Year competition in Victoria Tower Gardens on October 10, 2013 in London, England. The annual competition was won by Alan Duncan MP with his dog Noodle who was among the dogs entered into the competition which is run by Dog's Trust and the Kennel Club.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Sir David was a renowned animal lover. He is pictured here with his dogs Lily and Bo in 2013. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“We have got it from the prime minister that Southend is going to become a city – and it will become a city.”

He previously represented the constituency of Basildon for 14 years.

One of his most significant achievements in Parliament was the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act (1988), which came about as a result of his long-standing concern for animal welfare.

A father-of-five, Sir David was also a well-known animal lover.

Latest attack on an MP 

The stabbing is the latest attack on MPs in their constituencies.

The country was rocked when the 41-year-old Labour MP for Batley and Spen Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in her constituency by a far-right supporter.

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.

Watch: David Amess dead after being stabbed at constituency meeting

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