David Amess, Conservative Lawmaker in U.K., Is Reportedly Stabbed to DeathDavid Amess, Conservative Lawmaker in U.K., Is Reportedly Stabbed to Death

The member of Parliament, David Amess, was holding a meeting in his local constituency at the time of the attack.


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LONDON — A Conservative Party lawmaker was stabbed to death on Friday afternoon as he was meeting with local constituents in southeast England, according to the BBC, other British news outlets and members of Parliament, an attack that has rattled the country’s political establishment and drawn condemnation from across the ideological spectrum.

The London office of the lawmaker, David Amess, confirmed that an incident had taken place in the area of Southend, in Essex, but said that it was unable to provide further details. The Essex police confirmed in a statement that a man had been killed in the attack but did not name Mr. Amess, noting that a suspect had been arrested on suspicion of murder. The force also said that officers had recovered a knife at the scene.

While the police did not immediately identify the victim, several members of both the Conservative and Labour Parties referred to Mr. Amess in reactions posted on social media.

Mr. Amess, 69, had been scheduled to hold a meeting with voters at the Belfairs Methodist Church in a district of Southend, Leigh-on-Sea, east of London, where the attack is reported to have occurred. Photographs taken at the scene show a number of emergency responders and a cordoned-off area around the church. Local news outlets reported that an air ambulance had landed nearby.

Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, told the BBC, “It is confirmed, David was stabbed a number of times.”

The incident has echoes of other attacks on British lawmakers in recent years. In 2016, Jo Cox, a Labour lawmaker, was killed when a right-wing extremist targeted her outside a meeting with constituents. Stephen Timms, another Labour lawmaker, was stabbed in 2010.

In their statement, the police said that officers had responded to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12:05 p.m.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident and do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the wider public,” the police said. They added that they wanted to thank the people who had alerted them to the incident so quickly and appealed for further information from potential witnesses or from anyone who had any relevant CCTV or other footage.

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum reacted with horror to the news.

On Twitter, Carrie Johnson, wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wrote: “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess. He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.”

Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, added: “Rest In Peace Sir David. You were a champion for animal welfare, the less fortunate, and the people of Southend West. You will be missed by many.”

“Heartbroken,” wrote Tracey Crouch, a fellow Conservative lawmaker. “I could write reams on how Sir David was one of the kindest, most compassionate, well liked colleagues in Parliament. But I can’t. I feel sick. I am lost. Rest in Peace. A little light went out in Parliament today. We will miss you.”

In Britain, most members of Parliament hold regular meetings, or surgeries, to allow their constituents to raise issues of concern. While the gatherings allow politicians to keep contact with their voters, the surgeries can also make lawmakers vulnerable to security breaches.

Mr Amess was a long-serving member of the House of Commons and first arrived in Parliament in 1983. Firmly on the right of the Conservative Party, he was a longstanding critic of the European Union and a supporter of Brexit.

Though he has never held high office, Mr. Amess advanced a number of different causes during his political career, including animal welfare.

In 2016, Ms. Cox, died after being shot and stabbed by a right-wing extremist at a meeting in her parliamentary constituency in West Yorkshire. That attack took place in the prelude to the referendum on Brexit, and the assailant, Thomas Mair, an unemployed gardener, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

Ms. Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, reacted to the news of the attack on Mr. Amess on Friday in a post on Twitter.

“Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself,” he wrote. “There is no excuse, no justification. It is as cowardly as it gets.”

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