The Prime Minister said the UK had lost a “fine public servant” after the Southend West MP was stabbed at a constituency surgery
Boris Johnson has said people’s hearts are filled with “shock” and “sadness” after MP Sir David Amess was murdered while meeting constituents.
Speaking in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the UK had lost a “fine public servant” in Sir David and one of ” the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”.
The Southend West MP died after he was stabbed multiple times at a constituency surgery at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
A 25-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered at the scene, Essex Police said.
The PM said Sir David had died after “almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom”.
He added: “The reason people are so shocked and sad is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.
“He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.”
The violent death of the long-serving MP and father-of-five has sent shockwaves through the UK.
Following the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016, it has also sparked fresh fears over the safety of MPs, with Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said security would be examined “in the coming days”.
When pressed on MPs’ security, Mr Johnson said: “I think what we need to do now is let the police get on with the investigation.
“I am sure that all those issues will be considered in the proper time but I think this is a moment for us to think of Sir David, his wife, his family and our thoughts are very much with them.”
The PM cancelled a Cabinet meeting in Bristol to head back to London with Home Secretary Priti Patel when the news broke on Friday.
Flags were lowered to half mast outside Parliament and, as the grim news spread, there was an outpouring of tributes from figures across the political divide.
He said: “David was a lovely man, devoted to his family, to Parliament and his Southend West constituency. He was well-liked by members and the staff alike, and during his almost four decades here, built a reputation for kindness and generosity.
“This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and the whole country.
“In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Dame Eleanor Laing, Deputy Speaker, added: “All elected representatives must be able to go about their work without the fear of physical or verbal attacks. What has happened to Sir David Amess in Essex today is unforgivable.”
Former Conservative prime minister Theresa May was among those paying tribute to Sir David.
She said: “Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Sir David Amess. A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties.
“A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.”
Sir John Major also paid tribute to Sir David Amess.
He said in a statement: “This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who – for over 30 years – was a dedicated public servant.
“My heart goes out to his family.”
“The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before,” he said.
“Above all else, today I am thinking of David, of the dedicated public servant that he was and of the depth of positive impact he had for the people he represented. Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first-hand in Parliament. His Catholicism was central to his political life and he was highly respected across Parliament, within the church and in the Christian community.
“Let us come together in response to these horrendous events. We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”
Former prime minister Tony Blair said he was “shocked and horrified”.
“David and I came into Parliament together in 1983,” he said in a statement.
“Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.
“This is a terrible and sad day for our democracy.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the news was “a deep blow” to the UK and democracy.
“The death of a father, husband and friend is agonisingly painful for those who loved him,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“The murder of an MP, in the course of caring for their constituents, is a deep blow to this country, its citizens and everyone who desires a peaceful and flourishing democracy.
“Sir David Amess dedicated his life to championing causes he believed in, serving constituents and his country for almost forty years as a Member of Parliament.
“The only antidote to violence and hatred is love and unity. In this horrific and tragic moment we must come together, across political difference, and be the light that refuses to be cowed by darkness.”
A vigil will be held in Sir David’s constituency at 6pm at St Peter’s church in Eastwood.