Vow to keep MPs safe after calls to pause in-person meetings

Tributes have been pouring for Sir David Amess. Credit: PA

People should still be able to meet their MPs in person following the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess, Priti Patel has said.

The Home Secretary said security measures will be put in place to ensure MPs can carry out the democratic process in-person, as she urged elected representatives not to be “cowed” by those threatening to “stop us from functioning.”

Some MPs have voiced their concerns, with former Tory defence minister Tobias Ellwood suggesting physical meetings with voters should be paused while security is reviewed.

Labour MP Chris Elmore told ITV News it "plays on your mind" after Sir David became the second MP to be killed in five years.

Conservative MP Sir David Amess with his pugs, Lily and Boat

"You do think, am I next?" He said. "There is a worry for our loved ones, our families.

"Jo Cox was taken from us five years ago, David yesterday... both of them doing advice surgeries so it plays on your mind."

But Ms Patel said it is possible to strike a balance.

After laying flowers at the site of Sir David’s killing alongside the Prime Minister, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Saturday morning, she said: “We are open to surgeries, doing our job. We will continue to do that.

“That is why there are measures under way right now – I convened meetings yesterday, I’ve been with the Speaker of the House, and with the police and our security services to make sure that all measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members.”

What's now being done to keep MPs safe?

It's the latest in a series of violent attacks on MPs

The attack is the latest in a string of violent attacks on MPs, which includes the 2016 murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

She was killed while on her way to hold a surgery with constituents in Batley and Spen.

In May 2010, East Ham MP Stephen Timms was stabbed twice in the abdomen by Roshonara Choudhry, an Islamic extremist who claimed she had wanted "to get revenge for the people of Iraq".

Nigel Jones, then MP for Cheltenham, was severely injured in January 2000 when he was attacked in his offices by a man with a sword.

Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councillor, was killed in the same attack while trying to defend the then-MP.

And in 1990 Conservative MP Ian Gow was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

This is now officially designated as a terror attack - what do we know about the suspect so far?

Conservative MP Kevin Foster, who represents Torbay, said it is “not practical” to have airport-style security at MPs’ surgeries.

Defence minister James Heappey, the Conservative MP for Wells, echoed that sentiment, adding: “Tweaks to security might be necessary but nothing can fundamentally change: those surgeries are foundations on which service as MP is delivered.”

Tory Harrow East MP Bob Blackman said he and his colleagues will now be “wary” of what they do following Sir David’s death, but former universities minister Chris Skidmore – who represents Kingswood constituency – said it still felt “absolutely natural that I would continue to hold in-person events.”

That sentiment was mirrored on the Labour benches, with Hull East MP Karl Turner arguing against vetting who elected representatives see and that politicians had to accept there is a risk involved with their work.

Detectives have, meanwhile, been granted a warrant of further detention at Westminster Magistrates’ Court - which allows them to hold a suspect following the stabbing until October 22.