Murdered Sir David Amess told to stop seeing constituents alone & wrote attacks 'could happen to any of us' after Jo Cox
SIR David Amess was told to stop seeing constituents alone and wrote deadly attacks on MPs "could happen to any of us" before his tragic death.
Sir David, 69, was knifed to death in a terror attack yesterday at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Last year, the MP for Southend West wrote that he had “experienced nuisance” from “the odd member of the general public” in his book Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster.
He also admitted he had upped his personal security after Jo Cox was shot and stabbed by a far-right extremist in 2016.
Sir David said the killing was carried out “in the most barbaric fashion imaginable” and he had been advised to avoid meeting constituents alone.
But the MP – who was called a "true parliamentarian" in touching tributes – "hated zoom".
In a touching tribute, Ann Widdicombe said: "He hated online. He wanted face to face meetings with his constituents and, even if their problem was the 30th similar case he’d heard that day, he’d attack it relentlessly."
Sit David urged his constituents to meet him in person in his tragic last tweet ahead of yesterday's stabbing.
He wrote: "My next constituency surgery will be taking place on Friday 15th October at Belfairs Methodist Church, 251 Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 4NG."
After MP Nigel Jones was attacked with a machete in 2000, Sir David wrote: “We all make ourselves readily available to our constituents and are often dealing with members of the public who have mental health problems, it could happen to any of us.”
Addressing security, the book reads: “We regularly check our locks and many others have CCTV cameras installed but probably the most significant change has been with constituency surgeries.
The tragedy comes as…
- Boris Johnson leads tributes to Sir David – and said ‘our hearts are filled with shock and sadness’
- Counter-terror cops quiz a 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder
- The suspect, a British national of Somali origin, allegedly knifed the MP 17 times – and sat calmly while he waited for police to arrive
- The PM visited the scene of the horror with Sir Keir Starmer and Priti Patel to lay a wreath of white flowers
- Sir David was asked to stop meeting constituents alone after Jo Cox was murdered – and wrote that similar attacks "could happen to any of us"
- Mrs Cox's sister says her terrified husband has asked her to step down from politics after the horror
- Priti Patel launches review into MPs’ safety after killing
- There were tears at a vigil as friends and constituents remembered the much-loved MP
“The British tradition has always been that Members of Parliament regularly make themselves available for constituents to meet them face to face at their surgeries.
“Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments.
“We are advised to never see people alone, we must be extra careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure.
“In short, these increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”
Cops last night confirmed that Sir David, 69, was knifed to death in a terror attack. A 25-year-old man was arrested and held by armed cops.
Anti-terror cops revealed the arrested British national of Somali origin is thought to have been inspired by Islamic extremism.
It is understood the suspect lived in Sir David’s Southend West constituency after his family came to the UK from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s.
Priti Patel has since launched a review into MPs’ safety after branding the killing “an attack on democracy”.
Commons speaker Sir Lindsay said: "It is about doing the right things working with the police constabularies right across the United Kingdom because it is about joining that up.
ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY
"I know that they are contacting all the MPs to check about their safety, to reassure them, because in the end we have got to make sure that is a priority."
"Those people who do not share our values or share democracy, they will not win and we won't let them win.
"We will continue to look at security, that is ongoing and it will continue."
It comes as a former Conservative minister urged his fellow MPs to stop offering face-to-face meetings with constituents following the stabbing.
Tobias Ellwood, who attempted to save the life of Pc Keith Palmer following a terror attack on Westminster in 2017, was quoted on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"I would recommend that no MP has a direct surgery until you can move to Zoom," Mr Ellwood said, in comments originally made on the station's The World Tonight programme.
"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."
But cutting off in-person meetings all together has been criticised.
Councillor Kevin Buck – deputy chairman of the Southend West constituency association – said he is against moving MPs' surgery meetings to Zoom after the death of Sir David.
Mr Buck said he does not believe Sir David would have wanted meetings to go online, nor would he have wanted extra protection such as metal detectors and a police presence at face-to-face talks with constituents.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: "I don't think he would have approved, I personally don't approve really, I know we have to take our own personal safety very seriously, but I enjoy, as Sir David did, meeting the people.
"That's why we do this, so that we can lead the people and help the people and I don't want to do that from behind a TV screen or from behind the glass screen or a security box because then we've lost."
Yesterday, Jo Cox's husband said David Amess's death "brought everything back" after his wife was murdered.
'PAIN AND LOSS'
Brandon Cox told how learning that Sir David been knifed multiple times has seen the "pain and loss" he felt following Jo's death resurface.
Today's bloodbath is the ninth time an MP has been murdered in the UK, the sixth since WW2.
Among those was Jo, who was gunned down and killed on her way to a constituency surgery in 2016.
Brendan said after Sir David's death was confirmed: "My thoughts and love are with David’s family. They are all that matter now.
"This brings everything back. The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo.
"I hope we can do the same for David now."
Labour MP Jo was killed by Nazi-obsessed Thomas Mair in broad daylight just a week before the EU referendum vote.
The mum-of-two was stabbed and shot as she made her way to a constituency meeting in Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire.
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