Friday’s stabbing death of a member of Parliament occurred during a meeting at a church in England. The attack brought together Britain’s rebellious politicians in shock. The attack resulted in the arrest of a 25-year old man.
Police did not immediately provide any details about the motive behind the murder of David Amess, a Conservative lawmaker of 69 years, and they didn’t identify the suspect. He was being held under suspicion of murder.
Five years ago, Jo Cox was killed in her small-town constituency. This attack reaffirmed concerns about the dangers politicians face when representing voters. British politicians are generally not provided with police protection when they meet their constituents.
According to Essex Police, officers responded to a report of a stabbing at Leigh-on-Sea shortly after noon. They arrested a man and confiscated a knife.
Police stated that they aren’t looking for any other suspects in the incident. They also said that there was no ongoing threat to the public.
Sky News and other media reported that Amess was attacked while attending a regular meeting of constituents at a Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea. The church is located about 40 miles (62 km) east of London. His life was not saved by paramedics who arrived on the scene.
Amess was a member of Parliament Southend West (which includes Leigh-on-Sea) since 1997. He had also been a lawmaker since 1983. This made him one of the longest-serving politicians at the House of Commons.
He was a traditional Conservative to the right of his party and was well-liked. His reputation was for working hard for his constituents.
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his services and he was named Sir David.
Political leaders from all political parties expressed shock and sadness at the passing of Amess. He leaves behind a wife and five kids. The flags at Parliament, London, were reduced to half-staff
Lindsay Hoyle, House of Commons Speaker, said that “this is an incident which will send shockwaves throughout the parliamentary community as well as the whole country.” “We will be discussing and examining MPs’ security and any actions that may be taken in the coming days, but for now our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family, friends, and coworkers.”
Although violence against British politicians is not common, there have been growing concerns about the bitter polarization in British politics over the past few years.
Cox, a Labour Party lawmaker and member of the Labour Party, was fatally attacked and shot in her northern England constituency, just one week before the country’s divisive Brexit referendum. Her murder was committed by a far-right extremist.
Brendan Cox (Cox’s widower), tweeted Friday that Cox’s attack on his elected representatives was an attack upon democracy. There is no excuse or justification. It’s as cowardly and as dangerous as it gets.”
British lawmakers are protected inside Parliament by armed police. Security was increased after an Islamic State-inspired attacker fatally stabbed a police officer.
However, politicians do not have this protection in their constituents. His website contains the locations and times of Amess’ open meetings with constituents.
Over the past 20 years, two other British lawmakers were attacked during their “surgeries”, regular meetings where constituents can voice concerns and complains.
Stephen Timms, Labour legislator, was attacked in the stomach by a student radicalized by al-Qaida-linked sermons online in 2010.
A man with a sword attacked Nigel Jones, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, and Andrew Pennington during a 2000 meeting. Pennington was killed, and Jones was wounded in the attack on Cheltenham in England.
Tracey Crouch, a Conservative lawmaker, tweeted that Friday’s murder had left her heartbroken. I could go on and on about Sir David’s kindness, compassion, and well-liked colleagues in Parliament. But I cannot. I feel sick. I feel lost.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party’s First Minister, tweeted: “Elected representatives across the political spectrum will unite in sadness and surprise today. Politicians must be openly accessible in a democracy. However, no one should have their lives taken while representing and working for their constituents.
Carrie Johnson, the wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter that the news was “absolutely catastrophic.”
He was a great man, generous and kind. She described him as a huge animal lover and a true gentleman. This is completely unfair.