British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed at constituency meeting

Originally Published: 15 OCT 21 09:11 ET
Updated: 15 OCT 21 10:46 ET

(CNN) — British lawmaker David Amess, a member of Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, has died after being stabbed multiple times at a constituency meeting east of London.

Amess, 69, a Member of Parliament who represented Southend West in Essex, was stabbed at around midday by a man who walked into a meeting with voters from his electoral district being held in a Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, a witness at the scene told Reuters.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” Essex police said.

“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”

Aerial footage showed multiple police officers outside the church and an air ambulance at the scene. A large cordon extended down Eastwood Road, where the church is located, with members of the public gathering behind it and multiple side streets closed off.

The incident marks the second murder of a sitting British lawmaker in five years, after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed in her constituency in 2016.

Politicians stunned by killing

Amess’ stabbing was met with shock across Britain’s political spectrum. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, wrote on Twitter: “Horrific and deeply shocking news. Thinking of David, his family and his staff.”

Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister’s wife, tweeted: “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess.

“He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.”

Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away.

“He loved being an MP and was a great public servant. It is just awful. My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Londoners, are with David’s loved ones at this time of unimaginable grief.”

And Sajid Javid, the UK’s Health Secretary, called Amess “a great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role.”

Cox’s murder five years ago rattled the nation and led to calls for lawmakers to receive personal protection when in public — a sentiment that re-emerged Friday following Amess’ death.

MPs in Britain typically meet with residents in their constituencies face to face during “surgeries,” and it is uncommon for them to have a security detail.

“All elected representatives must be able to go about their work without the fear of physical or verbal attacks,” Amess’ colleague, Conservative MP Eleanor Laing, said in a tweet on Friday following the stabbing. “What has happened to Sir David Amess in Essex today is unforgivable.”

“This angry, violent behaviour cannot be tolerated in politics or any other walk of life,” added Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of Amess’ Conservative Party.

Amess entered Parliament in 1983, initially representing the Basildon constituency. He served continuously in the House of Commons since then, making him one of the longest-serving lawmakers in the chamber.

His main areas of expertise were animal welfare and pro-life issues, according to a biography on his website.

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