There was anger alongside the sadness today that another MP has not been protected – an ugliness has infected the national conversation and created the climate for the violence we have tragically witnessed again
Westminster is in mourning today following the killing of Sir David Amess.
The outpouring of grief for the Conservative MP is a mark of the affection he was held in by all sides of the House of Commons.
Sir David spent his life devoted to public service. He cared deeply for his constituency of Southend West, which he never ceased to champion when called to speak in Parliament.
He held strong views, not least on Brexit, but he always made his arguments without rancour or bitterness.
He was known for his kindness towards colleagues of all political stripes and was an example of how politics should be conducted.
In recent years, an ugliness has infected the national conversation, with respect and understanding replaced by intolerance and vitriol.
This has created the climate for the violence we have tragically witnessed yet again.
Alongside the sadness at losing a colleague MPs are also filled with disbelief and anger that yet again a politician has been killed while doing a job they love.
The warnings should have been heeded when Lib Dem Nigel Jones was attacked in 2000 and acted on when Labour’s Stephen Timms was stabbed in 2010.
The failure to keep our elected representatives safe has since cost the lives of Jo Cox and now Sir David.
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All MPs will tell you of the strong bond with constituents. Those ties are built on one of the strengths of democracy – regular constituency surgeries. When MPs no longer feel safe we lose a vital part of the connection that exists.
The killing of an MP is not just an act against humanity it is an attack on our democracy.
Today our thoughts are with Sir David’s family, friends and constituents. A review of MPs’ security must follow.
We must also examine how we can change our political discourse so there is less hatred and more of the compassion that was shown by Jo Cox and Sir David Amess.