On October 15, British MP David Amess was stabbed to death in Essex. The attack took place at Belfairs Methodist Church Hall in Leigh-on-Sea, where Amess was scheduled to meet constituents.
Emergency services rushed to the scene but Amess was pronounced dead at 1:13 PM due to multiple stab wounds. According to the police, “a 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”
David Amess served as a Conservative Party MP for almost 40 years. He identified as a social-conservative who supported the reintroduction of capital punishment, the prohibition of abortion, animal rights, and Brexit. He was known for being a backbencher, that sponsored legislation such as the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act (2000). Amess opposed policies related to the advancement of LGBTQ rights, most notably same sex marriage.
The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command led the investigation into the killing, and announced the next day that the stabbing was an act of terrorism. Metropolitan Police released a statement elaborating that “the early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremeism”.
Colleagues of Amess took to different media outlets to express their shock and grief about the murder, and offer condolences. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leader of the Conservative Party, shared that “David was a man who believed passionately in [his] country and in its future. We’ve lost a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague”. Former Prime Minister David Cameron described Amess as “the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet”. Additionally, Home Secretary Priti Sushil Patel said that Amess’ murder “represents a senseless attack on democracy itself” and that “questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected officials”.
Amess’ murder marks the third act of violence and second murder of a British MP in the last 11 years.
In 2010, MP Stephen Timms was stabbed twice in the abdomen but survived this assasination attempt. Later in 2016, Jo Cox, an MP for Batley and Spen was shot in West Yorkshire. This act of terrorism conducted by a far-right activist, who shouted “British first” before attacking.
The murder of David Amess’ does not only demonstrates a lack of security and safety for MPs during constituency meetings. The two British MPs killed within the last 5 years were from opposite sides of the political aisle; Amess, a member of the Conservative Party and Cox, a member of the Labour Party. This also paints a broader picture of politically motivated violence within the country. Both murders show that violence against political figures is not solely driven by hate towards one ideology, but permeates across the political spectrum.