Politics must be kinder and based on respect, says Speaker after MP’s death

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People hug at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess was killed (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
People hug at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess was killed (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The Speaker of the House of Commons has called for politics to be kinder after the death of his colleague and friend Sir David Amess.

In an article for the Observer and Mail on Sunday, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he does not want to see an end to face-to-face meetings with constituents and he urged the “hate” in politics to stop.

Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea Essex on Friday when he was stabbed multiple times.

The hate, which drives these attacks, has to end

Sir Lindsay Hoyle

The fatal attack has raised questions about the safety of MPs and whether more security should be in place, or whether parliamentarians should conduct their surgeries entirely online.

In the article, Sir Lindsay said: “If anything positive is to come out of this awful latest tragedy it is that the quality of political discourse has to change.

“The conversation has to be kinder and based on respect.

“This incident has shown that there is unity across the political divide in support of democracy.

“The hate, which drives these attacks, has to end.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, right, joined the Prime Minister on Saturday to lay flowers at the scene of Sir David Amess’s killing (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, right, joined the Prime Minister on Saturday to lay flowers at the scene of Sir David Amess’s killing (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

The attack on Sir David came five-and-a-half years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far-right extremist in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

After that attack new security measures for MPs were put in place, but Sir Lindsay said these now need to be reviewed – and he added that is happening “closely and at pace” with the Home Office.

The Speaker made it clear he is in favour of keeping face-to-face appointments as they are “the cornerstone of our democracy”.

He said: “The very essence of being an MP is to help and be seen by our constituents.

“They are the people who elected us to represent them, so surely making ourselves available to them is the cornerstone of our democracy?”

Home Secretary Priti Patel told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday there could be changes to security details for MPs but that she too believes MPs must remain “accessible”.

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