Killing of Sir David is 'wake-up call' over security, MP says
- Credit: Archant
A Norfolk MP has said the killing of Sir David Amess is a "wake-up call" for colleagues around the country to reconsider their security.
A 25-year-old man, Ali Harbi Ali, has been arrested in connection with his death and has been detained under the Terrorism Act.
Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, said he had been at the opening of the new Macmillan Cancer Centre in Cromer at the of the incident.
A staff member texted to ask if he had heard the news, which he discovered after turning on the television when he arrived home.
"I just broke down in tears," he said. "I couldn't believe what I had heard. The nicest, kindest man - a 69, nearly 70-year-old man.
"What on Earth is someone doing going out and killing him?
"It deeply shocked me, the thought that someone might want to kill me for my job."
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He said, having grown up in his constituency, he struggled to comprehend the renewed focus on his safety there.
"I was born in north Norfolk," he said, "people know me. Everywhere I go people are really kind.
"I spent the summer knocking on doors, and 99pc of the reaction was really good."
Speaking on Saturday, he said he was due to attend an event in his home town of Holt on Sunday, and had been contacted by police, who were sending two officers with him.
"[Home secretary] Priti Patel is ordering a review into safety of MPs, and they approached all of us and asked about our whereabouts over the next few weeks," he said.
"There's a genuine concern. I will certainly look at my security, and I don't like that I have to."
He said while his staff were more aware of risks he could potentially face, he had generally given it less thought, instead focusing on his role as MP.
But he was keen to stress that, while they may have to reconsider the practicalities of events and surgeries, he did not intend to stop or cut back on seeing people face-to-face.
"It's absolutely surreal," he said. "We are now in a world where we have got a lot of toxicity fulled towards MPs, a culmination of the constant criticism and derision of every decision made in government in the mainstream media."
He said MPs also played a part in not stoking further division, both in person and on their social media channels.
"Going around the constituency, I have lovely constituents who mostly do recognise me now and are comfortable to come and talk to me," he said.
"Where the hostility comes from is a very noticeable shift in the way things are written down online."
He said while the government and police have always taken MPs' security seriously, he said, for him, it would be a reminder for politicians to ensure they were protecting themselves.
"We sometimes take it for granted," he said. "It's a wake-up call to check a security device is charged up, or if an alarm is turned on - how we are living our daily lives."