Conservative MP Sir David Amess dies after being stabbed at constituency surgery
The 69-year-old MP, who has served since 1983, was fatally injured at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex midday on Friday, October 15.
Witnesses described the scene as “very distressing”.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Essex Police said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.
“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today.
“We attended and found a man injured. He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.
“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.
“He is currently in custody. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”
The force later confirmed Sir David to be the man who died at the scene of the stabbing.
Aerial footage showed multiple police officers outside the church and an air ambulance at the scene.
A large cordon extended down Eastwood Road, with members of the public gathering behind it, and multiple side streets closed off.
Flags have been lowered to half mast outside Parliament.
‘A father, a husband, a respected colleague’
As news of the incident broke on Friday afternoon, colleagues and other pubic figures took to social media to express their condolences and shock at Sir David’s death.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most.
“Today it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague. All my thoughts and prayers are with Sir David’s loved ones.”
Dominic Raab, Deputy Prime Minister, paid tribute to Sir David’s big heard and generosity of spirit, saying: “Heartbroken that we have lost Sir David Amess MP.”
Former Prime Minister David Cameron added: “This is the most devastating, horrific & tragic news.
“David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man – & he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet.
“Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David’s family.”
‘One of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics’
Issuing a statement after returning to Downing Street from a visit in Bristol, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think all our hearts are full of shock and sadness today at the loss of Sir David Amess MP, who was killed in his constituency surgery in a church after almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom.
“And the reason I think people are so shocked and saddened is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics, and he also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, whether the people who are suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals, or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country.
“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future.
“And we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague, and our thoughts are very much today with his wife, his children, and his family.”
‘Public life must be safe for those we ask to serve in our democracy’
The Jox Cox Foundation, which was set up following the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016, also issued a statement in the wake of Sir David’s death on Friday afternoon.
In it, the organisation called for a future where no politician is subject to violence.
"All elected representatives deserve to be safe, and to be treated with respect,” the statement said.
"Violence and abuse against them is utterly unacceptable. It endangers people and their families and it endangers democratic life.”
The statement also included a message from the Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith, chairwoman of the Jo Cox Foundation and former Labour MP, who described Sir David as “dedicated” and “generous”.
She said: “This is a tragic loss for those who knew and loved Sir David – my heart goes out to them. I knew him as a dedicated and generous colleague in Parliament.
"Public life must be safe for those we ask to serve in our democracy – that is a responsibility for us all.”
Brendan Cox, widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, wrote on Twitter: “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.”
‘May you rest in peace’
The first floral tribute has been laid at a police cordon following the death of Sir David on Friday afternoon.
The tribute, laid by a young woman, read: “A silent thought, a quiet prayer, for a special person in God’s care. May you rest in peace.”
The cordon is still being manned by Essex Police as forensic officers carry out their investigations at the scene of an incident which claimed the MP’s life.
More floral tributes, including a blue balloon with a written message on it, have been laid close to Sir David Amess’s surgery.
The message reads: “RIP We will miss you xx.”
Speaking on Friday, former prime minister Tony Blair said he was “shocked and horrified” by the murder of Sir David Amess, adding that it was “a terrible and sad day for our democracy”.
A statement from Mr Blair said: “David and I came into Parliament together in 1983
“Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.”