David Amess: Lord Pickles on importance of constituency surgery
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Lord Pickles has argued that MPs will continue constituency surgeries as normal following the tragic killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess in stabbing on Friday. Sir David died after he was attacked as he attended surgery at church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, a 25-year-old man was later arrested by police. Lord Pickles paid tribute to the 69-year-old on Sky News for the connection the MP had with the local residents and said attacks such as this were “dreadful,” but added they were “not normal.”
Lord Pickles told Sky News: “It is part of the job, it is something you sign up to.
“You know there are some places in the world where the chances of meeting a member of Parliament is impossible.
“Where they operate in a bubble where they are a separate class.
“But you could see David on the train to Southend.”
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Reflecting on the murder of the MP, Lord Pickles, said: “It is tragic, it’s dreadful, but it is not normal.
“Think of the dreadful attack on Stephen Timms which blatantly had a happier outcome.
“It happens and it may be that members of Parliament make take the basic precaution of getting a name and address before they see somebody, getting an outline of a case before they see somebody.
“But I don’t think that in any way would infringe.”
David Amess: Essex Police confirm death of Conservative MP
Sir David was attacked at around midday at a meeting at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.
“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” 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.”
Armed police swooped on the church and detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. There was no detail about the motivation for the attack.
Emergency services had fought to save his life inside the church – where a sign says “All are welcome here” – but in vain.
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Colleagues from across Parliament expressed their shock and paid tribute to Amess, who held regular meetings with voters on the first and third Friday of the month, saying he was diligent in his duties to his local area.
Flags in Downing Street were lowered in tribute.
Amess, married with five children, was first elected to Parliament to represent Basildon in 1983, and then stood for Southend West in 1997. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his public service in 2015.
His website listed his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues.”
He was popular with lawmakers and known for his active contributions to debates – often about issues relating to his Essex constituency or animal rights.
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