MPs defiant as they remember Sir David - The Worcester Observer

MPs defiant as they remember Sir David

Worcester Editorial 22nd Oct, 2021   0

DEVASTATED Conservative MPs have vowed to continue to meet their constituents face to face after the heartless killing of long-serving Tory MP Sir David Amess.

Worcester MP Robin Walker and Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin revealed their determination to ensure such a link was retained despite the horrific events in Leigh on Sea last Friday (October 15).

Sir David, 69, died after being stabbed several times, the second sitting MP to have been killed in the last five years after Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder in 2016.

An MP since 1983, Sir David represented the constituency since 1997 and was widely respected across the chamber.




Grief-stricken Parliamentarians gathered at the House of Commons on Monday (October 18) to pay their respects amid a debate on MP security.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Walker said hailed the Southend West MP a ‘wonderful colleague, a deeply kind man and a shining example of public service’.


“It is horrific he should have been subject to such a brutal attack, particularly when working to support constituents,” Worcester’s MP said.

“It is a fitting tribute to his long career in public service that the constituency he loved and represented so well has now been granted the city status that he campaigned for.

“I remember many examples of his kindness and a couple that stand out to me were when I first arrived in the House of Commons and my father was dying of cancer, he reached out to say how much he had enjoyed working with him in the 1980s and shared some memories of their time together in the parliament of that time – they had been on very different sides of many of the debates of that era, but the personal respect and concern he showed were genuine.

“A few years later I was elected to serve on the Administration Committee of the Commons and found myself, after just four or five years as an MP, serving with a number of its longest serving members, David was amongst the most friendly and welcoming and was somebody who was always genuinely excited about the work of supporting the House and enabling members to do their work.

“We went on a tour of the Elizabeth Tower, the tower which holds Big Ben and his enthusiasm was infectious, I still treasure a photo I have of this senior member of the House, 32 years into his career as an MP grinning like an excited schoolboy at the opportunity to stand behind the world famous clock.

“Amongst the many tributes that were paid to him in the House of Commons, the vast majority referenced his smile and his personal kindness.

“Of course there will be calls after such a terrible event and after the attacks on both Jo Cox and Stephen Timms that preceded it, for more security for MPs and for changes to the way in which we engage with the public.

“I am all for taking sensible precautions but I do not want any barriers to arise to the vital ability of all MPs to meet constituents face to face. I will continue to hold surgeries as I did the evening after Sir David was so brutally murdered and I think that many of the precautions that can be taken, already are in terms of booking people in in advance, ensuring they are genuine constituents and understanding what the issues are that people want to discuss, but it is essential to the role of being a public representative that we can hear from constituents, however they might vote and whatever the issue that they want to raise and I  will do everything I can to ensure that this continues.

“We need to challenge violence of all sorts and show that we can disagree well, as Sir David so often did and we need to remember the basic point that Jo Cox made so well that in a democracy there needs to be space for disagreement and debate but across political divides we all have more in common.

“I have been deeply touched by the many constituents who have reached out to express sympathy with Sir David and his family and I am grateful for the concern that many members of the public have shown for the welfare of MPs and, just as importantly, their staff.

“The same horrible afternoon that these appalling events happened to Sir David, we had a lovely letter and a box of chocolate biscuits from a constituent who had been helped at a recent surgery.

“It is vital that the engagement and the basic desire to fix problems that I believe inspires the vast majority of people who go into politics from all parties carries on – I certainly believe that Sir David and Jo would want to ensure that it can,” Mr Walker added.

Mrs Baldwin said she remained adamant MPs should not abandon public-facing events in the aftermath of the attack and like Mr Walker had held her surgery as events were unfolding in Essex.

“I am still numb after the terrible murder of my colleague. My thoughts and prayer are with his family and friends,” she said.

“Over the recent year we have seen some terrible threats to MPs safety; we’ve seen the murder of Jo Cox, the terrorists attacks on the Houses of Parliament which saw PC Keith Palmer lose his life and now Sir David horrifically attacked.

“But my message is simple. As MPs, we must not be bullied by terrorists and extremists into changing our methods and I plan to continue doing surgeries.

“I have always wanted to be as accessible as possible to my constituents but Covid has meant that this has been restricted. However, I’ve been able to carry out telephone surgeries and my casework team has been in operation throughout the pandemic ensuring people get assistance in the most efficient way.

“We may need to adapt our methods to meet police guidance, but I urge constituents who need advice or assistance to get in touch and I will do my best to help,” she added.

25-YEAR-OLD Ali Harbi Ali has been charged with murder and the preparation of terrorist acts after the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess.

He is due to appear at the Old Bailey today (Friday)

In response to the attack West Mercia Police confirmed it was liaising with local MPs on security arrangaments following the attack.

Supt Gareth Morgan, said: “Local officers will be out in areas where MPs have planned surgeries to engage with communities and reassure them.”

Subscribe

Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Announcements

Weddings, Birthdays, Bereavements, Thank you notices, Marriages and more.

Advertising

Advertise with the Worcester Observer to reach your audience

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.