Dawn Butler calls for MP security 'overhaul' after death of David Amess

Amess stabbing

Conservative MP Sir David Amess has lost his life after being stabbed today - October 15 - at a constituency surgery. - Credit: PA

Dawn Butler has called for a review of MPs' security following the tragic death of Sir David Amess.

The Conservative MP died after being stabbed at his constituency surgery in Essex on Friday (October 15).

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack at a church in Leigh-on-Sea.

Police said they recovered a knife and were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Dawn Butler's advent calendar has gone digital.

Dawn Butler's advent calendar has gone digital. - Credit: Archant

Ms Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, said it was "very triggering". 

Sir David is the second sitting MP to be killed in the last five years, following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in 2016.

Ms Butler said: "David was a really nice guy and it's very, very sad and extremely triggering. It could be any one of us and that's very worrying.

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"MP security – not just surgeries but when we go to events – needs to be reconsidered."

She added: "I remember when the police said I don't get enough abuse to warrant extra security, a couple of years ago. 

"When I go to surgeries I feel relatively safe. Police are very good in Brent. I inform them if I'm having a surgery.

"I feel there's enough support in Brent that if I was to be attacked enough people would come to my rescue, enough people know me."

In 2019, Nura Mohamed received a three-month prison sentence after she followed Ms Butler carriage to carriage on a Jubilee Line train and threatened to kill her the previous December.

In July 2020 the Labour MP announced she was closing her constituency office due to threats against her and her staff “drastically escalating”.

Staff had been attacked and bricks thrown through the window at her small office in the High Road. In July 2018 we reported that a missile was thrown at the window of her constituency office.

"MP security really does to be reviewed and overhauled," Ms Butler added.

Sir David was a Conservative backbencher for nearly forty years, having entered parliament in 1983 as the MP for Basildon.

The 69-year-old father-of -five held the seat in 1992, but switched to Southend West at the 1997 election.

Raised as a Roman Catholic, he was known politically as a social conservative and as a prominent campaigner against abortion and on animal welfare issues.

Sir David also wrote about the machete attack on Nigel Jones MP, which resulted in his aide Andy Pennington’s death as he tried to protect him.

And the Essex politician mentioned he had experienced “nuisance from the odd member of the general public” at his own property.

He said most MPs had changed the way they interacted with voters, and the Commons authorities took the threats members faced very seriously.

MPs were issued with safety guidance for themselves and their families, Sir David wrote.

Writing about a machete attack on Nigel Jones MP in 2000, Sir David said: “We all make ourselves readily available to our constituents and are often dealing with members of the public who have mental health problems, it could happen to any of us.”

About security, he said: “We regularly check our locks and many others have CCTV cameras installed but probably the most significant change has been with constituency surgeries.

“The British tradition has always been that Members of Parliament regularly make themselves available for constituents to meet them face to face at their surgeries.

“Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments.

“We are advised to never see people alone, we must be extra careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure.

“In short, these increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, tweeted: "Shocked and heartbroken by this tragic news about David Amess.

"He was always really kind and supportive to me. My thoughts are with David's family and loved ones."

Additional reporting by PA.

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