Kim Leadbeater: we must protect our MPs and our democracy after Sir David Amess death

The sister of Jo Cox says we must look more carefully at the safety of MPs in the wake of the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess.

But Kim Leadbeater, who is herself now an MP, said there is a "fine line" and that democracy must be protected as well as elected representatives.

Kim Leadbeater says the safety of MPs needs to looked at, after the death of Sir David Amess

Today in Parliament MPs across the political spectrum have been paying tribute to the Conservative MP who was stabbed several times at his constituency surgery in Essex last Friday.

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater said: "You will never end up with a zero risk situation. We are public servants. The best part of our job is being around people. It's around having conversations with constituents, it's around attending events. Everybody who does this job wants to do these things.

"My family and now David's family know that by having this kind of open door policy where people can see you whenever they want, there are huge huge risks associated with that."

Jo Cox was stabbed and shot outside her constituency surgery in Birstall in 2016. Her death sparked questions over the safety of MPs.

Jo Cox was killed outside a constituency surgery in Birstall in 2016

The death of another MP in similar circumstances five years later has reignited many of those conversations.

Ms Leadbeater says: "I think a review is taking place and I do think it is important that that review goes forward. Obviously a lot of these conversations were had after Jo was killed and it is frustrating for me that I'm hearing a lot of the same things being said again.

"So I do think we need to look at how things operate. But again it's that fine line isn't it - we need to protect our MPs and our public servants in the same way that we need to protect lots of people who have public facing roles but we also have to protect democracy."

Meanwhile MPs from across our region have been paying tribute to David Amess today.

MP for Rother Valley Alexander Stafford once worked in the office opposite Sir David in Parliament.

He said: "He was always the most lovely sweet man with a great sense of humour, great wit. He was a great public servant and this is just, obviously, devastating what has happened."

Mr Stafford says engaging with the public is an important part of being an MP: "The good thing about out politics in the UK is we don't sit behind bulletproof glass, we don't have army of heavies protecting us. That's ridiculous. On Friday when it happened I was literally on a street corner outside the Leeds Arms in South Anston talking to people. literally people who walk past me. And that's the point of an MP, to actually be in the community.

"What I do think is necessarily is to tone down some of the hostility in politics across the spectrum."

Flowers laid where Sir David Amess was killed in Essex

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers also paid tribute to Sr David. He said:

"He always had that twinkle in his eye. He was a loveable chap and it's such a tragedy that it's ended in such terrible circumstances"