David Amess killing raises questions about MPs’ safety

Home Secretary Priti Patel said questions are 'rightly being asked' about the safety of lawmakers.

David Amess killing raises questions about MPs’ safety

LONDON — The killing of British MP David Amess has raised immediate questions about the safety of MPs.

The long-serving Conservative representative for Southend West was stabbed at a drop-in meeting in his constituency on Friday. These so-called surgeries are commonplace in Britain, and see MPs open their doors to hear voters’ concerns. Usually, they are accompanied only by their office staff.

It is not the first time a parliamentarian has been attacked while carrying out this part of their duties. 

Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in Batley and Spen by a far-right extremist during the 2016 Brexit campaign. In 2010, Labour’s Stephen Timms survived after being stabbed twice during a surgery in West Ham. And in 2000, Andy Pennington died after being stabbed trying to protect his boss, the Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones. 

Amess himself had lamented the need for extra security in the wake of Cox’s death, writing in his memoir: “These increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said questions are “rightly being asked” about the safety of MPs following Amess’ death and vowed to “provide updates in due course.”

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle acknowledged “in the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken” but said the immediate focus should be on supporting Amess’ loved ones.

As speaker, Hoyle has a special duty to liaise with police about MP’s safety. Hoyle was also chairing business in the Commons chamber when police officer Keith Palmer was killed in a terrorist attack on parliament in 2017.

Father of the House Peter Bottomley, the longest-serving MP, issued a statement in which he said: “This shouldn’t happen but it has happened.”

Addressing the question of whether MPs should have better protection, Bottomley said, “we come in the middle of the pact — the most vulnerable are mental health workers, clergy, police, health service staff, shop keepers and public transport workers.”

As key workers expect to go on serving the public, he said, “so do we as MPs,” and “as we continue to do our duties, we may need to be careful.”

Brendan Cox, Jo Cox’s husband, tweeted shortly before the news that Amess had died: “Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself. There is no excuse, no justification. It is as cowardly as it gets.”

Matt Western, a Labour MP, tweeted: “No one should be attacked like this. Has society not learned anything from the Jo Cox tragedy?”

MPs are expected to pay tribute to Amess and James Brokenshire, a former Cabinet minister who died of cancer last week, when the Commons sits on Monday.

Source : Politico EU More   

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UK MP David Amess stabbed multiple times

He was receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries.

UK MP David Amess stabbed multiple times

LONDON — A man has been arrested after a British MP was stabbed several times at an open meeting with constituents.

David Amess, the long-serving MP for Southend West, was attacked Friday at a drop-in session at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, southeastern England.

In a statement, Essex Police said officers arrived at the scene shortly after 12.05 p.m. and arrested a man. A knife was also recovered from the area.

A spokesman for Amess’ office in Westminster said: “The incident has happened. I don’t know what the incident is. We are still waiting.”

Amess received treatment on the scene but his condition is not currently known.

Boris Johnson and his Cabinet are at an away day in the west of England, but it is now unclear if that is going ahead.

Media opportunities to film the start of the meeting have been canceled, as was a planned interview with Johnson that was due to take place afterward.

Politicians from across the spectrum sent their good wishes to the MP, who was first elected in 1983.

Source : Politico EU More   

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