The killing of British MP Sir David Amess is being treated as a terrorist incident by police.
The long-serving Tory parliamentarian was stabbed to death on Friday, while carrying out one of his regular constituency surgeries in Leigh-On-Sea in Essex.
Police have arrested a 25 year old man on suspicion of murder and recovered a knife.
They say they are not looking for anyone else.
Sir David is the second MP to be murdered in Britain this century. Labour MP Jo Cox was knifed to death by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair in 2016. The judge sentenced him to a whole life tariff - meaning he will never be eligible for parole and will die in prison.
Labour MP Stephen Timms was stabbed as he held a constituency surgery in 2010; student Roshonara Choudhry said she attacked him for voting for the war in Iraq. She was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for attempted murder and two counts of possessing a knife.
The attacks have raised concerns about MPs’ safety; Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered police chiefs to review the security of MPs who live in their constituencies. While House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said that:
“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.”
Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, told the BBC that MPs should stop in person appointments for the time being:
“I would recommend that no MP has a direct surgery until you can move to Zoom.
“There are other ways. You can actually achieve an awful lot over the telephone, you can get things moving far faster than having to wait for the surgery date as well.”
Meanwhile, tributes to Sir David have poured in from across the political spectrum, with MPs and staff alike praising his kindness and devotion to his constituents.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Sir David as an MP with an "outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable".
Former Labour MP Paula Sherriff said she was “truly devastated”, adding:
“Sir David, it was my privilege to have got to know you in Parliament. I will never forget the laughter and camaraderie we shared, the kindness you showed me - vastly different politics but so much in common. Today, my heart is broken.”
The most decent of men 💔 pic.twitter.com/V0zsAoNaY5
— Paula Sherriff 🌈💙 (@paulasherriff) October 15, 2021
While his former staffer, Ed Holmes, recalled him as an outstanding constituency MP:
“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.”
#DavidAmessMP 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. 1/6
— Ed Holmes (@E_K_Holmes) October 15, 2021
Sir David was elected to represent Basildon in the 1983 Conservative landslide. In 1997 he switched to the nearby Southend West constituency after boundary changes carved up his seat.
In 2015 David Amess was awarded a knighthood for political and public service. How did the newly-knighted Sir David celebrate?
He got dressed up and released this brilliant photo https://t.co/jfeFRxAbCh pic.twitter.com/7GtWr02xKi
— Calgie (@christiancalgie) October 15, 2021
A devout Thatcherite, animal lover and Brexiteer, he never attained ministerial office but was knighted in 2015 for political and public service - an award he celebrated by dressing up as a knight.
Main image: Sir David Amess attending the Paddy Power Political Book Awards at the BFI IMAX, Southbank, London. Picture by: PA