Conservative British Lawmaker Stabbed at Church Meet and Greet, Dies

A note is seen by a floral tribute near the site where a member of Parliament was killed on Friday, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. David Amess, a long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents at a church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday, in what police said was a terrorist incident. A 25-year-old British man is in custody. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Sir David Amess, a 69-year-old a conservative Member of Parliament, was stabbed multiple times Friday at a meet and greet with his constituents at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, and later died from the attack.

Arness served in politics since 1983. He was supportive of the 2016 Brexit campaign, Leave Means Leave and also the Break with the Bloc campaigns in 2020.

According to the U.K. Parliament website, most Parliament members hold meet and greets, which the British call a "constituency surgery," to give people an opportunity to discuss matters of concern. They usually hold these events weekly and advertise them locally and online.

John Lamb, a local councilor for the conservative party, was on location and reported:

"I'm told that when he went in for his [meet and greet] surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him. He (Arness) was with a female member of staff from his constituency office and another female member of staff from his Parliamentary office. He is very involved in the community and a lovely man."

Sadly, emergency services were not able to save his life, and he died at the scene.

The Essex Police Twitter account updated the situation, saying they have recovered the weapon and have arrested a 25-year-old man in relation to the attack. They are not searching for any other suspects.

Flags around British Parliament will be flown at half-mast.

Please pray for Sir David Amess' wife and five children and the rest of the family as they mourn this tragic loss.

Update From the Associated Press

Leaders from across the political spectrum came together Saturday to pay their respects to Arness. Police are now saying it was a terrorist-related attack. His death has reopened questions about the security of lawmakers as they go about their work.

Arness' slaying has caused shock and anxiety across Britain's political spectrum, just five years after Labor Party lawmaker Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist in her small-town constituency.

"He was killed doing a job that he loves, serving his own constituents as an elected democratic member and, of course, acts of this are absolutely wrong, and we cannot let that get in the way of our functioning democracy," British Home Secretary Priti Patel said after she joined others, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to pay tribute to Amess at the church where he died.

Patel said she has already convened meetings with the Speaker of the House of Commons, police departments and U.K. security services "to make sure that all measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members."

Portions of this article © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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