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UK: Security Under Spotlight after MP Stabbed to Death

UK: Security Under Spotlight after MP Stabbed to Death

Saturday, 16 October, 2021 - 04:15
British lawmaker David Amess, 69, poses in his official portrait. UK Parliament/via REUTERS

The fatal stabbing of British lawmaker David Amess was a terrorist incident, police said Saturday, as MPs pressed for tougher security in the wake of the second killing of a UK politician while meeting constituents in just over five years.


Veteran Conservative MP David Amess, 69, was talking with voters at a church in the small town of Leigh-on-Sea east of London when he was stabbed to death on Friday.


Police said they arrested a 25-year-old suspect and were investigating "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism".


Police have said the investigation is in the "very early stages", though multiple UK media outlets, citing sources, reported that the suspect was believed to be a British national with Somali heritage.


Britain's politicians were stunned by the highly public attack, which recalled the murder of a pro-EU lawmaker ahead of the Brexit referendum.


In June 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far-right extremist, prompting demands for action against what lawmakers said was "a rising tide" of public abuse and threats against elected representatives.


Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater, who became an MP in the same constituency this year, said Amess' death had left her "scared and frightened".


"This is the risk we are all taking and so many MPs will be scared by this," AFP quoted her as saying.


Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday ordered police across the country to review security arrangements for all 650 MPs.


House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle promised no "knee-jerk reactions" but told Sky News: "We will take further measures if we need to".


Labour MP Chris Bryant wrote in The Guardian that "sensible measures" were needed both in parliament, which is typically heavily guarded, and in constituencies, where MPs often hold meetings in locations such as church halls and high-street offices.


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