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World Senior Tory MP calls for face-to-face meetings with constituents to be paused in wake of Amess killing

12:21  16 october  2021
12:21  16 october  2021 Source:   news.sky.com

Boris Johnson’s kicking the cheap migrant labour drug. Imagine that happening here

  Boris Johnson’s kicking the cheap migrant labour drug. Imagine that happening here A conservative leader telling big business not to rely on cheap foreign workers and to pay local workers more? Don't faint, Scott Morrison.Imagine a senior minister warning business they weren’t going to go back to “being reliant on the addiction, if you like, of cheap, unskilled labour from abroad”.

Former minister recommends talking to constituents on Zoom following fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess . “But understandable huge anxiety amongst MPs now. Until the home secretary’s review of MP security is complete I would recommend a temporary pause in face - to - face meetings .” However, Kevin Buck, deputy chairman of the Southend West constituency association, said he was against moving MPs’ surgery meetings to Zoom.

The former Tory leader says he doesn't want to change how MPs see constituents , despite the stabbing of Sir David Amess . The former Tory leader says, "I'm sure David would have felt the same." The Conservative MP died after being stabbed at his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack.

A senior Conservative MP has called for a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings between parliamentarians and their constituents following the killing of Sir David Amess on Friday.

Police and forensics experts at the church where Sir David Amess was killed on Friday © PA Police and forensics experts at the church where Sir David Amess was killed on Friday

Tobias Ellwood, who was hailed as a hero for his attempts to save the life of PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack in 2017, said physical engagements should be halted until the Home Office has completed its review of MPs' security.

His comments come less than 24 hours after Mr Ellwood's colleague, Tory MP David Amess, was stabbed to death in his constituency.

UK Conservative MP stabbed multiple times: reports

  UK Conservative MP stabbed multiple times: reports British MP David Amess was on Friday stabbed "multiple times" during an event in his local constituency in southeast England, Sky News and the BBC reported. Local police did not name Amess but confirmed that officers "were called to reports of a stabbing" shortly after 12:05 pm (1105 GMT). "A man was arrested shortly after & we're not looking for anyone else," the force said on Twitter. Sky News and the BBC identified the victim as the 69-year-old politician, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party.Amess was holding a his regular weekly meeting with constituents at the Belfairs Methodist Church, in the small town of Leigh-on-Sea.

MPs tend to hold their constituency meetings on Fridays, as work often brings them to their Westminster office from Monday through to Thursday. 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. “Appalled to hear of the attack on [David Amess ] today. I know him well and am thinking of him with very best wishes as we await further news,” opposition lawmaker Stephen Timms wrote on Twitter.

But senior Tories have urged caution over new security measures that would move MPs away from meeting with members of the public. Lord Pickles, a former Conservative Party chairman who was an MP for 25 years before joining the House of Lords, acknowledged that security risks were "part of the job" for parliamentarians. Other politicians who have been killed in serviceDavid Amess is one of six British MPs to be killed in office since the second world war The union flag flies at half-mast from Victoria Tower over the Houses of Parliament in central London.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood says face-to-face meetings between constituents and MPs should be temporarily paused following Sir David's death © Sky News Screen Grab Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood says face-to-face meetings between constituents and MPs should be temporarily paused following Sir David's death

Sir David, who represented Southend West in Essex, was holding a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea when he was stabbed multiple times on Friday.

Shortly before 3pm, Essex Police confirmed Sir David, a father-of-five who had been an MP for 38 years, had died.

Sir David Amess had been an MP for 38 years © PA Sir David Amess had been an MP for 38 years

A 25-year-old man - understood to be a Briton with Somali heritage - was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.

He is in custody at an Essex police station.

Police say the fatal stabbing of Sir David has been declared a terrorist incident.

Terror suspect held over murder of MP Sir David Amess is named Ali Harbi Ali, Sky News understands

  Terror suspect held over murder of MP Sir David Amess is named Ali Harbi Ali, Sky News understands The name the police have of the terror suspect arrested on suspicion of murder following the stabbing of a senior Conservative MP is Ali Harbi Ali, Sky News understands. © Rex Features Sir David Amess was killed on Friday. Pic: Penelope Barritt/Shutterstock The 25-year-old, who is a British citizen, with Somali heritage, is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.However, the investigation into the killing of Sir David Amess is still in its infancy so that could change if new details emerge.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to MP Sir David Amess as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”. © Sky News. ‘We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague,’ said Boris Johnson. - Sky News. Mr Johnson was speaking after returning to 10 Downing Street from a cabinet awayday meeting in Bristol. He said that ministers were “deeply shocked and heartstricken” to hear of the attack on Sir David, which took place as their special meeting to discuss the upcoming Cop26 climate change summit was beginning.

Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed during a meeting with constituents . Greg Smith MP joined the outpouring of tributes to 'genuine, warm, welcoming' Sir David Amess (Twitter). It comes in the wake of concerns about how law enforcement agents identify themselves after serving police officer Wayne Couzens arrested, raped and murdered Sarah Police were called to the I’m A Celebrity …

Following his killing, there has been much debate over the safety of MPs.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs "with immediate effect" following the attack.

Posting on social media on Saturday morning, Mr Ellwood, who chairs the influential Commons Defence Select Committee, said: "MP engagement with the public: This is a vital part of our work - our accessibility with the public.

Priti Patel posing for the camera: Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs 'with immediate effect' following the attack © Imagebridge Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs 'with immediate effect' following the attack

"But understandable huge anxiety amongst MPs now. Until the home secretary's review of MP security is complete I would recommend a temporary pause in face to face meetings."

David Davis told Sky News he disagrees with Mr Ellwood's suggestion that MPs' face-to-face meetings should be paused © Reuters David Davis told Sky News he disagrees with Mr Ellwood's suggestion that MPs' face-to-face meetings should be paused

On Friday, fellow Conservative MP Steve Brine was asked by Sky News if he has had fears for his own safety while an MP.

United Kingdom: The presumed killer of a member had been oriented towards a deriding program

 United Kingdom: The presumed killer of a member had been oriented towards a deriding program A British national of Somali origin is suspected of killing the Conservative MP David Ameress while he received his adminisés © Alberto PEZZALI / AP / SIPA British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Labor Opposition Party leader, Keir Starmer, United States to pay tribute to David Amess, Leigh-on-Sea on October 16, 2021.

'Vulnerable' MPs issued security warning after David Amess killed as he met constituents . MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT must grasp every opportunity to stay safe when they are in a 'vulnerable' position in constituency surgery, a security expert warns. Philip Grindell, founder and CEO of protective intelligence company Defuse Global, has urged MPs to use every security option available to them in the wake of the tragic death of Sir David Amess . Conservative MP Sir David Amess died shortly after midday Friday in a brutal knife attack during a routine meeting with his constituents in

British lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death Friday while holding a regular meeting with constituents , police said, in a killing that has shaken the. "The British tradition has always been that members of Parliament always make themselves available for constituents to meet them face - to - face at their surgeries," he wrote. "Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments. We are advised never to see people alone, we must be careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure."

He replied: "Oh yeah. You bet."

Conservative MP John Redwood said 'violence must not stifle open debate'. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor © PA Conservative MP John Redwood said 'violence must not stifle open debate'. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

But not all MPs are of the view that normal business should be temporarily disrupted in the wake of Sir David's killing.

Conservative former minister David Davis told Sky News he disagrees with fellow Tory Mr Ellwood's suggestion that face-to-face meetings between MPs and constituents should be paused, adding: "I don't think it would be a good reflection of David's memory to stop that in any way."

Mr Davis told Sky News: "Whilst we all love him and admire him, what we shouldn't do in response to his tragic murder is break that link which he was the absolute champion of."

Flowers were placed at the scene in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex © PA Flowers were placed at the scene in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

He continued: "The simple truth is one of the unusual aspects of British democracy is the close relationship between individual members of Parliament and their constituents and walking down the street, going to the shop, living in your constituency, talking to a neighbour, having surgeries, having meetings - all these things are critical to the operation of British democracy - and I think it would not be the right thing.

UK: MPs behind glass wall?

 UK: MPs behind glass wall? After the murder of a Tory MPs Britain arguing for the protection of politicians. The contact with the citizens but should remain possible. © Photo: imago images / ZUMA Press Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries flowers to the place of cruel events, the Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea east of London. After murder of a lower house deputies , committed by a perpetrator with Islamist background, the UK debate on the safety of parliamentarians.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he would continue to 'look at' security measures © Reuters Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he would continue to 'look at' security measures

"I mean, sure we should be cautious - maybe we should do things to try to ensure that people who come to see us are bona fide and so on - but I think actually pausing it would be a bad idea.

"It would be a terrible reflection of what David (Amess) stood for. David himself was the ultimate constituency MP and you can see that in the response from people in his constituency."

Conservative MP for High Peak, Robert Largan, said he would be continuing with his weekly advice surgery on Saturday and invited members of the public to come along without an appointment.

Another Conservative MP John Redwood posted on social media: "We must ensure our representative traditions continue as David Amess would wish.

"Violence must not stifle open debate nor the safe access of MPs to constituents' views.

"Margaret Thatcher spoke the morning after the Brighton bomb to make the point murderers do not win."

Work and Pensions minister Guy Opperman tweeted that democracy must "keep going".

"I am an MP I had surgeries today in Hexham with constituents, knocked doors in Allendale, and went to my local pub I will do all this next week and hold the Tyne Jobs Fair," Mr Opperman said.

"On Friday I mourn Sir David Amess... but for all my House of Commons colleagues, we keep going #Democracy."

Prayers and Tributes in the British Parliament in Memory of the Deputy Killed

 Prayers and Tributes in the British Parliament in Memory of the Deputy Killed © British MPs pay tribute Monday to one of theirs, David Amess, fatally stabbed during a parliamentary permanence, in what the police considers As a terrorist act potentially linked to Islamism. David Amess, a 69-year-old Conservative member of five children, was killed with knife on Friday while he was talking to his administered in a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, about 60 kilometers to L East London.

Speaking on Friday, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle promised to "examine" safety measures for MPs following the killing of Sir David, but cautioned against a "kneejerk reaction".

He described himself as "shocked and deeply distressed" by Sir David's death - the second killing of an MP in their own constituency in little more than five years.

Sir Lindsay told Sky News that he had gone ahead with his own constituency surgery on Friday following the news of Sir David's death.

"Nothing will stop democracy, nothing will stop us carrying out our duties," he said. "Those people who don't value the job that we do, those people who don't support us will not win - hence why I've had my surgery tonight."

Sir Lindsay said he would continue to "look at" security measures, adding: "We won't sit back on our laurels, of course we know the challenges. We've got to protect MPs and allow them to carry out their duties. The duties that the electorate put them there for - to speak, to meet and to make sure that their views are conveyed to parliament."

People have left tributes to Sir David outside the church in Leigh-on-Sea © PA People have left tributes to Sir David outside the church in Leigh-on-Sea

And Conservative MP and Father of the House of Commons Sir Peter Bottomley said he predicts MPs will continue to hold physical surgeries.

"The question is - should MPs stop meeting their constituents face-to-face? The answer is we will go on meeting our constituents face-to-face," he told the PA News agency.

Councillor Kevin Buck, deputy chairman of the Southend West constituency association, said he is against making MPs' surgery meetings virtual following Sir David's death.

Mr Buck told BBC Breakfast 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.

Also speaking to the BBC, veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman said she will be writing to the prime minister asking him to back a Speaker's Conference to review the safety of parliamentarians in their constituencies following the death of Sir David.

Meanwhile shadow minister Lucy Powell said Greater Manchester Police have ensured "extra support" is in place for her following the killing.

She tweeted: "I've had a number of reassuring calls from Greater Manchester Police today. Some extra measures and support being put in place. Much appreciated."

Sir David Amess’s killing: Why MPs’ safety is important .
The regular threats to public officials are an attack on democracy. As a former parliamentary candidate myself, I was struck by the sheer viciousness of online and in-person hate from strangers. While politicians need to be thick-skinned, it can put off well-meaning and talented people from entering politics. It also risks making our political system more remote if politicians cannot meet constituents organically in engagements due to security protocols, replaced instead with security screening and prebooking.

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This is interesting!