UK in shock after assassination of MP David Amess

“I never thought it was possible here, but I guess everyone is saying that under these circumstances”, loose Melanie Harris, a woman in her forties. It is 6 pm, Friday, October 15, and this resident of Leigh-on-Sea has just come out of work; she went to buy some flowers which she left on a corner of the sidewalk, under the police cordon, in front of the Methodist Church in Belfairs.

It was inside this brick building, in the heart of a seemingly uneventful shopping district, between a municipal golf course and quiet tree-lined boulevards, that Tory MP Sir David Amess, 69, was beaten to death. knife a few hours earlier, when he began his parliamentary permanence, open to the public. Essex Police arrested a 25-year-old man shortly after the crime. Scotland Yard called the crime“Terrorist incident”. “The first elements of the investigation revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism”, London Metropolitan Police said on the night of Friday to Saturday, after the investigation was handed over to the Counterterrorism Directorate. According to the media, the suspect is a Briton of Somali origin.

Vulnerability of MPs

The murder of this member of the Conservative Party, veteran of the House of Commons, elected continuously since 1983 in Essex (east of London), causes a very strong emotion in the United Kingdom, where Parliament remains the basis of democracy .

Read also: Were the killer’s motives political?

The drama also revives the debate on violence against politicians and the vulnerability of MPs, five years after the assassination of Labor MP Jo Cox in comparable circumstances. On June 16, 2016, the 41-year-old was just coming out of a public library, where she had been on duty (in Yorkshire, northern England), when she was stabbed by a supremacist from far right.

A man prays during a mass given in memory of the fatally stabbed Conservative MP David Amess at Saint Peter's Catholic Parish in Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, UK, October 15, 2021.

Horrified reactions and expressions of affection poured in throughout the day. “Everyone is shocked and has a heavy heart”, said Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hailed in Mr. Amess “A man who believed passionately in his country and in his future”. “ This respected parliamentarian was killed in his own constituency while doing his duty. It is a tragic day for our democracy ”, lamented former head of government Theresa May. Keir Starmer, leader of Labor, the main opposition party, called for the rally “In response to this horrific event. We will show, once again, that violence, intimidation and threats will never prevail over our democracy ”. “All the elected representatives of the political spectrum are united in sadness and shock today”, reacted the Scottish Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

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UK in shock after assassination of MP David Amess