MP describes 'toxic climate' politicians face after colleague killed

MP Sir David Amess, who tragically died after being stabbed at his constituency surgery

MP Sir David Amess, who tragically died after being stabbed at his constituency surgery - Credit: HM Government

A Norfolk MP has spoken about the "extremely toxic climate" climate he and his colleagues face following the death of Sir David Amess.

The 69-year-old Conservative MP was fatally stabbed during a constituency surgery in Essex at midday on Friday.

A 25-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Conservative MP for North Norfolk Duncan Baker said: "The climate that MPs work in at the moment is extremely toxic. The ability for people on social media to incite hatred against MPs who they have never met nor had any contact with is a very sad part of job.

Duncan Baker, Conservative candidate in North Norfolk. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE

Duncan Baker, Conservative candidate in North Norfolk. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE - Credit: Archant

"I've never used my platform to incite hatred around political beliefs or religion but that is not how everyone operates which makes the situation difficult.

"When you hear that one of your colleagues has been murdered, it really brings it home and these shouldn't be the risks we face while doing our job."

Sir David was a "great friend" to George Freeman, Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk. He described Mr Amess as "all that's best in our democracy: Unfailingly polite, kind, collegiate and a tireless MP for the people of Basildon and Southend".

"The stabbing of a fellow MP is shocking and sickening," he said. "But it's a symptom of the wider surge in violence and intolerance in our society. It is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are if we undermine the institutions and values which are there to protect our freedoms as a liberal democracy."

Most Read

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, shared similar concerns.

He said: "Like so many others I’m deeply shocked and dismayed at the death of Sir David. My thoughts are with his family at this awful time.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

“Ultimately when violent acts like this happen - whether against MPs, lone women simply walking home - it should give us pause to think about the kind of society we have created and the one we may yet want to build.”

For Jerome Mayhew, Conservative MP for Broadland, the tragic incident must not prevent MPs from conducting their vital duties within their constituencies.

"I was at a constituency surgery this morning in Aylsham town hall this morning, listening to the problems that local people face, that's our job," he said. 

"David was doing his job and being available for the community like we all are. It's too early to say what happened here but it would be devastating if the result was that we were prevented from being open to our community and been there for people in need and helping our constituents.

"It is clear that this is not an isolated incident and there are significant concerns for the safety of MPs but we must not let this prevent us from being openly available to our constituents.

"This is an important part of our democracy and an important part of our community and it is what I intend to continue doing.

Broadland Conservative MP Jerome Mayhew. Picture: Danielle Booden

Broadland Conservative MP Jerome Mayhew. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

"David was the gentlest and nicest person. His most controversial proposal was to make Southend a city, and I really hope that they do."

At a press conference this evening, chief constable of Essex Police Ben-Julian Harrington said: “At just after midday today, Essex Police were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.

“The response of the emergency services to this incident was immediate and our officers arrived on scene within minutes.

“When they arrived they found Sir David Amess MP, who had suffered multiple injuries.

“This was a difficult incident, but our officers and paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service worked extremely hard to save Sir David.

“Tragically he died at the scene. A 25-year-old man was arrested immediately at the scene on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.

“A knife was also recovered at the scene.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the specialist counter-terrorism command.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter