Conservative MP David Amess dies after being stabbed in Essex constituency
- Credit: PA
Suffolk and Essex's political community has led tributes to a Conservative MP who died after being stabbed multiple times during a constituency surgery.
Sir David Amess was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in his Southend West constituency on Friday.
Witnesses described the scene as “very distressing” and a 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Mr Amess, a father of five, first became an MP in 1983.
He is the second sitting MP to be killed in such circumstances in five years, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 as she attended a constituency surgery.
Essex police were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm on Friday.
A spokesman said: “We attended and found a man injured.
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“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.
“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.
“He is currently in custody.
“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”
The prime minister joined colleagues from across the country, including Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk to pay tribute to the father-of-five.
Clacton MP Giles Watling said Mr Amess was "one of the good ones".
He added: "He was welcoming and always took time to say hello and when I was a new MP back in 2017 he took time to help and it is a tribute to him that so many tributes are coming from across the party gaps.
"He has been recognised as a hard working, good MP and a good man.
"This just shouldn't happen. If you are going to be a public servant there are some risks but you should be able to get on with it. He was just doing his job.
"We can't let this defeat us.
"My thoughts go out to his wife and five children."
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt called Sir David one of "Parliament's big characters".
The Ipswich MP said: "I am shocked beyond belief to hear of the murder of my colleague Sir David Amess at his constituency surgery this afternoon.
"He had been the MP for Southend West for over 20 years.
"He was one of Parliament’s big characters. Very quirky but lovely. He was admired and held in great esteem across the House.
"It is difficult to find the words to express the tragedy and loss.
"My love and thoughts are with his family.
"He was simply going about his job serving his constituents as we all do through our surgeries. Devastating."
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for central Suffolk and north Ipswich, said the news had been awful to learn and called Sir David a "dedicated constituency MP and public servant".
He said: "It is an incredibly distressing time for his family and for many of his many friends he had inside Parliament and outside. My thoughts are with his friends and family
"It is really very difficult to comprehend and take in fully what has happened. It is a really awful day and a very sad day for politics that someone in the line of meeting with and representing their constituents that they have been murdered."
East Suffolk Council and the East of England Ambulance Trust paid respects to Sir David in addition to MPs Matt Hancock, Therese Coffey and Will Quince.
West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said in a tweet: "Just devastated and in shock at the murder of David Amess.
"He was so kind and cared so much about Southend. He was a mentor to me when I arrived in Parliament.
"Always selfless and had time for anyone. I send my deepest thoughts to his friends, staff and loved ones."
Colchester MP Will Quince said in a tweet: "Heartbroken by the tragic news of our friend and colleague Sir David Amess.
"A lovely, gentle, kind man with public service at his core. We have lost a great man.
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, parliamentary team and Southend West constituents."
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said on Twitter: "Horrific news today as colleague and friend Sir David Amess MP has been stabbed to death.
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. RIP."
Tom Abell, chief executive of EEAST, said Sir David was doing what he had done for four decades and was being a model MP.
He said: "David was doing what he has done for the last 40 years – being visible, approachable, and meeting with people in his community. He was simply trying to help people at one of his regular surgeries.
"He was being a model MP and I hope that people reflect on his decades of passionate and dedicated service to the people of Redbridge as a Councillor, and to Basildon, Southend, and Britain as a Member of Parliament – day in, and day out.
"David’s legacy, as was his life, is one of service to community and country."
Mr Abell thanked members of the “blue-light” family who attended the scene to offer aid.
A memorial service will take place for Sir David at 6pm at St Peter's Catholic Church in Eastwood.