UK Conservative MP stabbed to death

LONDON (AFP) – Conservative British lawmaker David Amess was killed yesterday after being stabbed “multiple times” during an event in his local constituency in southeast England, in the second death of a United Kingdom (UK) politician while meeting voters since 2016.

Local police did not name Amess but said a man had been arrested “on suspicion (of) murder” after the stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident,” said Essex police, adding that the man in custody was aged 25, and a knife was recovered.

The force said officers had earlier responded to “reports of a stabbing” shortly after 12.05pm (1105 GMT).

British media, including Sky News and the BBC, identified the victim as the 69-year-old politician from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party.

Conservative MP David Amess with his pugs, Lily and Boat. PHOTO: AP

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called Amess “a dedicated, thoughtful man and a true Parliamentarian, who lost his life while serving the constituents who he worked relentlessly for throughout his career”.

Amess is the latest British Members of Parliament (MPs) to have been attacked at his weekly constituency “surgery” with voters, which are typically held on Fridays when Parliament is not sitting.

Pro-European Union (EU) lawmaker Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist in 2016 in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

The Jo Cox Foundation, which was set up in her memory, tweeted that it was “horrified to hear the news of the attack” on Amess.

“We are thinking of him, his family and loved ones at this distressing time,” it added.

Another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, was stabbed multiple times during an event in 2010, but recovered from “potentially life-threatening injuries” and is still an MP.

Timms said he was “appalled” at the latest attack.

In January 2000, Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones was injured and his assistant killed by a man wielding a ceremonial sword at a constituency surgery in Cheltenham, western England.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith expressed concern about the security risk of the local MP “surgeries”.

“When you’re not in your office, and you’re in a public place… that means essentially, that the levels of security that sometimes you’re advised to take can’t be taken,” he tweeted.

Amess, a lawmaker since 1983, had advertised his upcoming surgery at the Belfairs Methodist Church in the small town of Leigh-on-Sea.

Paul Gardiner, 41, a barber at One Barbers Leigh-On-Sea, told AFP that “armed police and an ambulance” were on the scene.

“There’s a couple of choppers around the place,” he said.