Sir David Amess death: Sheffield MPs 'won’t be cowed by the forces of hatred and division'

A number of South Yorkshire MPs say they will not be deterred from holding face-to-face surgeries with constituents following the tragic death of Sir David Amess last week.

By Danielle Andrews, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 2:21 pm

The Southend West MP was killed while meeting constituents during a routine surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday (October 15).

A 25-year-old man is being held by police under the Terrorism Act in connection with the attack.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis paid tribute to Sir David, and said he “won’t be cowed by the forces of hatred and division.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sir David Amess.

Mr Jarvis added: “Just before David Amess was killed, I was out and about across Barnsley – visiting local businesses, supporting community groups, meeting constituents, knocking on people’s doors.

“Being in touch with the people I represent is the best part of being an MP. I love it and I’ll always keep on doing it – with the right precautions in place for my family, my team and myself.

“I had hoped that we wouldn’t be again facing this debate, just five years after the murder of Jo Cox; but I am not surprised that we are.”

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford revealed he has received “numerous” threats to him and his family, although the “overwhelming majority” of his consituents are “supportive”.

“Surgeries are the essential job of an MP and nothing should reduce that,” added Mr Stafford.

“We cannot let those that attack our democracy win.

“It is crucial that all MPs are visible and approachable, and I will not do anything to reduce this.

“I have had numerous threats to myself and my family from insults, to threats of violence, to threats of turning up to my home, and I have reported some people to the police. Luckily this is a tiny minority and the overwhelming majority of people in Rother Valley are supportive.

“I agree that what does need to change is the tone of the debate and people to be nicer, on and offline.

“Politicians of all political colours want to do best for their residents, but I worry that over the past few years the tone of the debate has got a lot worse.”

Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, called for “appropriate measures” to reduce the risk to MPs, “without undermining access from those we represent”.

“David’s murder, like Jo’s and other attacks on MPs, was horrific and shocking,” added Mr Blomfield.

“We also need to recognise that many others in public-facing roles, from shop workers and bus drivers to nurses and police officers, face unacceptable behaviour and threats.

“Above all we need to take the anger and division out of public discourse and look hard at the role of social media.”