Pro-life MP stabbed to death at a church

Pro-life MP Sir David Amess, a Conservative member of the UK House of Commons has died after being stabbed while holding a gathering for the public in his Southend West electorate east of London.

Paramedics tried for two hours to save Sir David at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, but he died of his injuries.

Amess, 69, leaves behind his wife Julia and five children. A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with Sir David’s death.

A patron of Right-to-Life UK, Amess ” has worked relentlessly over the years, championing initiatives in Parliament to introduce more protections for unborn babies and more support for women facing crisis pregnancies”, according to the pro-life charity.

Update: The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing, according to the Metropolitan Police 

The investigation is being led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command who are working closely with colleagues from the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit (ERSOU) and Essex Police.

Archbishop of York  Stephen Cottrell knew Amess, having grown up in his electorate and served as Bishop of Chelmsford which includes Southend.

Speaking to Premier Christian Radio, he said: “I don’t think any of us can get our heads around it. I consider David a friend so it is deeply shocking.

“He was a devout Christian and a supporter of the life of the Church

“I can’t speak highly enough of him as a human being. A great Christian, a great MP.”

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “The tragic death of David Amess creates a painful loss in so many lives. I pray for him that he be welcomed into the merciful presence of Our Heavenly Father, the [Catholic] Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols says. ” I pray for his family and friends, those reeling from shock at this time. I pray for his constituents all those who worked with him in his political career.

“This horrific attack, as David was undertaking his constituency surgery, is an attack on our democratic process and traditions.

“David carried out his vocation as a Catholic in public life with generosity and integrity. He served in Parliament for four decades and was respected by all political parties across the House. His untimely death is a great loss.”

Flags at the UK parliament are flying at half-mast. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, tweeted: “Heartbroken that we have lost Sir David Amess MP. A great common-sense politician and a formidable campaigner with a big heart, and tremendous generosity of spirit – including towards those he disagreed with. RIP my friend.”

Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister tweeted:

PM Boris Johnson:

Amess described his main areas of expertise as “animal welfare and pro-life issues” on his website.

Two of his most significant Parliamentary achievements were the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act (1988), and the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act (2000), both of which are on the statute book in his name.