Police in Essex, UK, arrest a ‘Somalian man, 25’ after Tory MP, Sir David Amess, was stabbed repeatedly at his church constituency town hall amid screams from attendees
Sir David, 69, had been holding a town hall for constituents when he was attacked by the knifeman at noon, Friday
The veteran politician, a conservative, represented Basildon, Essex constituency in Parliament
Horrified staff and Southend constituents witnessed the knife attack inside Belfairs Methodist Church
Sir David was treated at the scene by paramedics for more than an hour but later died
A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene and a knife was seized – the suspect was described as being of ‘Somalian origin’
The married father-of-five voted against gay marriage and abortion
Conservative MP Sir David Essex, 69, was murdered on Friday after being stabbed ‘multiple times’ by a 25-year-old killer who sprinted into a church and knifed him to death during his weekly constituency town hall.
The veteran Tory MP was meeting locals at the Belfairs Methodist Church, in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, when his attacker ran into the building wielding a knife before attacking the veteran politician at just after midday.
Sir David is the sixth member of the British House of Parliament to be murdered in office in the last four decades.
The popular Tory MP for Southend West, was meeting locals at the Belfairs Methodist Church, in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, when the assailant struck at 12.05pm. Horrified constituents waiting to see the veteran parliamentarian, an ardent Brexiteer and royalist, watched in horror as the knifeman stabbed him, calling the police at 12.05pm.
Police confirmed Sir David’s death at around 3pm, UK time Friday.
The popular politician was knifed ‘multiple times’ by a 25-year-old killer, believed to be of ‘Somali origin’.
His attacker sprinted into the church and stabbed him to death during his weekly town hall as constituents watched in horror. Horrified attendees screamed for help as they tried to save the Conservative MP who was brutally stabbed to death in front of his Southend constituents.
Paramedics worked to save the politician on the floor of the Essex church for more than an hour but he could not be saved after the brutal attack.
Friday night a group of 80 mourners attended a short-notice vigil in nearby St Peters Catholic Church, where Sir David, who has represented the constituency since 1997, was affectionately referred to as ‘Mr Southend’.
In a poignant tribute, Father Woolnough, leading the service, said: ‘He carried with him 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.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, said all our hearts are filled with ‘shock’ and ‘sadness’, as he reacted to the loss of the stalwart Conservative MP.
Returning to Downing Street to address the shocking news after a Cabinet away-day in Bristol, the PM said: ‘All our hears are full of shock and sadness.
‘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.’
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned the killing of Sir David Amess as an ‘attack on democracy’. Ms Patel said she was ‘devastated’ by the loss of Sir David, who she described as a ‘kind and loyal friend’.
And tonight her spokesman said the Home Secretary had called for an immediate review of security arrangements for MPs.
‘The Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course,’ Patel’s spokesperson said.
The married father-of-five is the sixth MP to be murdered in the post war era..
Chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington tonight said the 69-year-old Southend West MP was ‘simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short’.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the attack at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at midday on Friday and remains in custody. According to the Telegraph, the man is believed to be of ‘Somalian origin’.
‘it will be for investigators to determine whether this is a terrorist incident’, Harrington said, adding they will be ‘keeping an open mind’ over the motive.
Meanwhile, an Essex Police source said that an armed response team was involved in apprehending the suspect at the scene after being alerted by a local policing team who were first on the scene, following a call to the emergency help line.
Essex Police held the attacker at the scene and seized a weapon. He is now in custody and arrested on suspicion of murder.
Sir David, a Brexiteer veteran MP who has voted against gay marriage and abortion, was seen laughing and speaking to people on the steps of the church just 15 minutes before he was knifed.
‘Poignantly, Sir David wrote last year about the importance of meeting constituents despite what had happened to another MP, Jo Cox who was killed in a knife attack in her constituency.
He wrote: ‘She was a young woman with a family going about her duties, as we all do, completely unaware of the threat that she faced.
‘While it is often said that good can come out of someone’s death, it is difficult to see what good can come from this senseless murder’. He also admitted he had been threatened at his home in the past and had to add additional security to his property.
It is understood MPs will now see police present at all MP surgeries, in a major shake-up of security.
A Parliamentary source says that it is now essential: ‘The Commons will have a complete review again,’ the source said. ‘Police need to be at surgeries. It is the only solution. It takes something like this to shock everyone into action.’
When asked about whether the death of Sir David Amess, Johnson said: ‘I think what we need to do now is let the police get on with the investigation.
‘I am sure that all those issues will be considered in the proper time but I think this is a moment for us to think of Sir David, his wife, his family and our thoughts are very much with them.’
Sir David Amess has become the sixth MP to be murdered in office in modern times as questions persist over the safety of our elected representatives.
The Tory MP for Southend West, 69, was holding a surgery at the Belfairs Methodist Church, in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea on Friday when his attacker charged into the building wielding a knife and attacked the veteran politician.
Paramedics desperately worked to save him on the floor of the Essex church for more than an hour, but he died after suffering ‘multiple stab wounds’ in the appalling attack with chilling similarities to the murder of Labor MP Jo Cox in June 2016.
The latest police data showed there were 678 crimes reported against MPs between 2016 and 2020 – as Brexit and Covid ensured the country endured one of the most polarized political landscapes in recent memory.
Sir David became the second MP to be murdered at a constituency meeting in the last six years, after Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, was brutally murdered by far-right activist Thomas Mair in 2016.
In a poignant tribute, Father Woolnough, leading the service, said: ‘He carried with him 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.’ Members of the church and local community members attended the short-notice vigil this evening, just hours after the MPs death
David Amess was one of the longest-serving MPs on the Tory benches, having first been elected in Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 landslide.
The married father-of-five was known as a staunch right-winger, having been a Eurosceptic for years before the referendum campaign.
The 69-year-old has been an opponent of same-sex marriage and anti-abortion, but also took some less traditional Conservative positions – including campaigning against fox-hunting.
Despite his true-blue credentials he was popular across the political divide, known as a family man and a hard-working constituency MP.
One of his four daughters with wife Julia, Katie, is an actress and model who was named Miss Essex in 2008. *Sir David also came to public attention in 1997 when he was tricked into condemning a made up drug called ‘Cake’ on the satirical TV programme Brass Eye.
The MP had never been a minister during his near-four decade stint in parliament, although he was briefly a ministerial aide.
However, he held a number of important behind-the-scenes roles – which were rewarded when he was knighted in 2015 for political and public service.
Sir David was a member of the Health Committee, and also served on the Administration Committee – which oversees the Parliamentary facilities such as catering.
He was currently on the ‘Panel of Chairs’ at the Commons, making him one of the senior MPs who fill in for Speaker Lindsay Hoyle chairing debates.
Sir David was educated at a grammar school in London and then Bournemouth University, before becoming a recruitment consultant.
He contested and won Basildon for the Tories in 1983, when Mrs Thatcher trounced Michael Foot to secure an 144 majority.
However, when the seat was redrawn in 1997 he saw it would inevitably be taken by Labor, and was selected for Southend West.
He still holds the seat with a majority of more than 14,000.
There has been an outpouring of grief from MPs at the murder of Sir David AmessAn ambulance is driven through the police corden after the death of the Tory MP in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
One woman ran out of the church in the chaos yelling down the phone after dialling 999, telling the call handler: ‘Someone’s been stabbed, please get here soon, he’s not breathing’. Essex Police held the attacker at the scene and seized a weapon. He is now in custody and arrested on suspicion of murder.
It is believed Sir David has been receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries. Earlier this year he spoke out about anti-social behavior and knife crime.
He was a firm supporter of Brexit and the Leave Means Leave campaign. Sir David opposed bills furthering LGBT rights, including equal age of consent and same-sex marriage. He said present strategies were not working and said there needed to be more preventative measures.
Prime minister Boris Johnson led a great outpouring of grief from across the political spectrum today after the brutal stabbing of Tory MP David Amess.
The PM was among colleagues from all parties hailing the veteran Conservative – who died after being attacked at a constituency surgery’ as a ‘true gent’ and a ‘decent’ family man.
And there was defiance that MPs must not bow to an ‘attack on democracy’ by refusing to meet voters face to face in future.
Returning to Downing Street to address the shocking news after a Cabinet away-day in Bristol, the PM said: ‘All our hears are full of shock and sadness.’
He said the death came after ‘almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom’.
‘The reason people are so shocked and sad is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics,’ he said.
‘He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.’
Flags in Westminster are being flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to the 69-year-old, who had been an MP since 1983.
Former Conservative prime minister Theresa May tweeted: ‘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.
The political world reacted with deep sadness to the grim events today
‘A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.’
Former prime minister 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.
‘My heart goes out to his family.’
Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister’s wife, tweeted: ‘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.’
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab tweeted: ‘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.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: ‘Shocked to hear of the attack on Sir David Amess. Praying for him, his loved ones and his staff.
‘Our elected representatives must be able to live and work without fear of violence or intimidation if we are to maintain our democracy.’
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.’
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.’
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.’
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.’
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis described Sir David Amess as ‘one of life’s truly nice people’.
He tweeted: ‘I knew David both from my days as a councillor in Essex and as a fellow MP.
‘One of life’s truly nice people, a gentleman, who was always ready to give his help to anyone who needed it.
‘So shocked and saddened by this awful news. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.’ ***Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, who was Sir David Amess’s predecessor as MP for Basildon in Essex, paid tribute to him and called for security for MPs to be reviewed.