MP COLUMN: The threat of violence towards MPs is real and undermines democracy
The terrible death of the Southend MP, David Amess has sent shockwaves of grief and public concern across the country.
I knew David very well from our common religious beliefs and through working with him on cross-party issues.
He was a good friend and a decent and committed man. The heartfelt tributes to him in the Commons eloquently and movingly reflected the widespread respect across all parties for him.
Like all public representatives, he was dedicated to being part of his community. His persistence on Southend winning official city status was raising its profile.
Sadly, Mr Southend didn’t get his wishes in his lifetime but it’s granting is a proper if sadly posthumous testament.
Keeping connected to those who elected him, and those who didn’t, was clearly a priority.
Some inhabitants of the over-the-top and often vile bubbles of social media assert that MPs are out of touch. The truth is that they are more intensely and continuously connected.
In the immediate aftermath of his awful death some are understandably asking questions about MPs’ protection. The threat of violence is real and undermines democracy.
But let’s not jump to conclusions that divorce MPs from the people. We all need to reflect on this.
In the meantime, let’s remember a good man who always had a smile on his face and a kind word for friends across party lines. It’s also right that Labour and the Liberal Democrats will not contest the by-election.
We will all miss David. May he rest in peace.