Priti Patel orders review of MP security after David Amess stabbing

All police forces ordered to assess safety measures

Liam James
Friday 15 October 2021 22:47
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David Amess: Counter-terror police take over investigation into murder of MP

Priti Patel has ordered all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs following the killing of Sir David Amess.

The home secretary met police and representatives of the security and intelligence agencies after the 69-year-old MP was fatally stabbed at an advice surgery in his Southend West constituency.

She also met Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons speaker, who called for a review shortly after news of Sir David’s death broke.

Earlier, Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David in what she described as an “attack on democracy itself”.

“That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heartbreaking beyond words. It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself,” she said.

“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course.”

Sir Lindsay warned against a “knee-jerk reaction” but vowed Westminster authorities would not “rest on our laurels”.

“What we want to do is make sure MPs can carry out their duties. We have got to make sure MPs are safe,” he said.

MPs were advised on how to better look after their safety after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016. The Times reported that the amount of money spent protecting MPs rose fivefold to more than £2.5m in the year after her death.

In a book published last year, Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster, Sir David reflected on the impact of the murder of Ms Cox and other MPs.

He wrote: “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 never to 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.”

Sir David was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh at about midday on Friday and died shortly after. He had been an MP since 1983, first serving Basildon, then Southend West from 1997.

Essex Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested “immediately” after officers arrived, and a knife recovered.

Counter-terror officers had been put in charge of the investigation into the killing by Friday evening. The Independent understands that the suspect is a British national of Somali origin, and the killing is being treated at this point as a probable Islamist terror attack.

Additional reporting by PA

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