David Amess stabbed leaves UK lawmakers in shock over latest attack – .

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David Amess stabbed leaves UK lawmakers in shock over latest attack – .


Britain was in shock on Saturday over the murder of a veteran lawmaker in a public stabbing that sparked a terrorism probe and renewed politicians’ calls for safety.

The attack on David Amess while meeting the public in a small town just outside London has again rocked the country’s political establishment, five years after the murder of another lawmaker.

Police said Friday’s incident at a church in Leigh-on-Sea was an act of terrorism and said the preliminary investigation revealed a potential motive linked to Islamist extremism. But as the investigation continued and tributes poured in for the longtime MP, the spotlight also turned to the safety of politicians.

Despite being a social conservative on issues such as abortion, Amess had a reputation as a restorative in Parliament able to forge alliances across political divisions.Henry Nicholls / Reuters

Amess’ death echoed the 2016 murder of Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed in broad daylight as he met voters in a village in northern England. This has left lawmakers, their families and their staff – already navigating an increasingly volatile political atmosphere – once again vulnerable and in danger.

“It’s so difficult because we have a job to do,” said Kim Leadbetter, Cox’s sister and herself now an elected lawmaker.

“I now find myself working as a politician and trying to help people and trying to do good things for people,” she told Sky News, which is owned by the parent company of NBC News, Comcast. “But that’s the risk that we all take back.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was launching a review of security measures for all lawmakers. She was among those who laid flowers early Saturday outside Belfairs Methodist Church, where Amess was killed.

“We cannot be intimidated by any individual or any motivation – people with motives that prevent us from functioning to serve our elected democracy,” Patel told reporters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose ruling Conservative Party was represented by Amess, 69, was also joined at the scene by Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party.

Johnson and Starmer stood side by side in a moment of silence before leaving. Other politicians and members of the public also flocked to pay their respects.TOLGA AKMEN / AFP – Getty Images

In the UK parliamentary system, lawmakers have direct links with the public in their constituencies, known as constituencies. They often hold open meetings on Fridays, bringing together everything from voters’ perspectives on international affairs to local demands and personal concerns.

These meetings, called “surgeries,” often take place in public spaces such as churches and community halls, and are usually announced. Amess himself posted online where he would host his surgery Friday.

Tory lawmaker Tobias Ellwood, who provided first aid to a stabbed officer at the gates of Parliament in 2017, said on Friday that while engagement with the public was important, there was now growing anxiety among some politicians.

He called for a “temporary break from face-to-face meetings” following Amess’ death.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has said he will also launch a review of the safety and security of lawmakers.

Cox’s murder at the hands of a right-wing extremist came in the days leading up to the Brexit vote in 2016, an issue that helped fuel divisions and an at times feverish mood.

In the years that followed, lawmakers reported receiving an increasing number of death threats, especially on social media.

The UK is far from the only country to see its politicians facing threats and violence, of course, with the US also being forced to face the issue following the attack on the January 6 against the Capitol. There have been other occasional attacks in the UK in recent decades, including the stabbing of a lawmaker in 2010 by a radicalized student online.

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But after Amess’ death, many demanded to take into account the level of anger often directed at officials, as well as to focus on the level of security afforded them.

Some continued their planned events on Saturday, swearing not to let the attack harm their relations with the public.

Alec Shelbrooke, a conservative from West Yorkshire in the north of England, said on Twitter that the incident “shocked us all”.

However, he added alongside photos of him greeting locals, while “we may need to add a few extra precautions to the way we do our jobs, we can’t let events like this diminish the relationship. deep between a deputy and his constituents ”.

Brendan Cox, the husband of the Labor MP who was assassinated in 2016, wrote on Twitter that “terrorists want us to respond by amplifying their hatred, dividing communities and giving them the notoriety they want. We cannot change what happened yesterday, but each of us can help prevent the terrorist from achieving these goals. “

The murder of his wife led to a review that increased the security of lawmakers. But it also left scars on many, including Amess himself. He described the aftermath of Cox’s murder in his book “Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster”, published last year.

Most lawmakers “have altered or changed the way they interact with the general public,” Amess wrote. But the biggest change, he said, was the way politicians approached their regular meetings with voters – the type of meeting where he was killed on Friday.

“The British tradition has always been that MPs always make themselves available for voters to meet face to face during their operations,” he wrote.

“Now advice has been given to be more careful. “



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