Security for Leeds councillors tightened up following David Amess death

Politicians in Leeds have been issued with advice to have uniformed police present at drop-in sessions, as security arrangements tighten following the killing of an MP today.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 4:45 am
MP David Amess was stabbed to death at a constituency meeting. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

The brutal attack on Southend West MP David Amess, who was stabbed to death at a constituency meeting, took place in Leigh-on-Sea yesterday afternoon.

A Leeds city councillor has since tweeted that new security measures have been brought in for local authority members this afternoon.

Coun Paul Wray, a Labour councillor for Hunslet and Riverside, tweeted: “Following today’s killing of a Member of Parliament, safety advice has been issued by the Council and until further notice, there will be uniformed police presence at all my councillor advise drop-ins and I’ll be ending all house visits.

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“It is sad this extra security will be needed, but like many councillors and MPs – I refuse to not do my duty and I will continue to provide the service I was elected to provide. Democracy and accountability must always win.”

It is understood that the cancellation of home visits was not mandatory, but that numerous councillors are taking this step to ensure their safety.

This afternoon, the leader of Leeds City Council put out a statement, which read: “This is unspeakably awful news and my thoughts are with Sir David Amess’ family and office staff.

"It is inconceivable that in a democratic society or indeed anywhere that elected representatives serving their constituents should be in danger.

“There is no place for intimidation or violence in the bond between communities and the people who are elected to serve them and as a council we will be redoubling our efforts to ensure our elected representatives and their staff feel as supported as possible in conducting their work without fear or threat.”

Meanwhile, Leeds politicians have expressed their support to Sir David Amess and his family, after the MP died following a stabbing at a constituency meeting this afternoon.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn (Lab) tweeted: “We are all deeply distressed and shocked to hear about David Amess. Thinking of you David and your family.”

Member for Leeds North East Fabian Hamilton (Lab) added: “Utterly horrific news about David Amess. My thoughts are with him and his family and friends.”

Emlet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke (Con) said: “Shocking news. My thoughts are with Sir David and his family, as well as his staff, who will be understandably shaken by today’s events.”

Richard Burgon, who represents Leeds East for Labour, said: “Deeply shocking news about the stabbing of David Amess. My thoughts are with David, his family and his friends.”

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds East) said: “My thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

The investigation into the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess is being led by counter-terror officers, Essex Police have said.

Chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington said the 69-year-old Southend West MP was “simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short”.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the attack at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at midday on Friday and remains in custody.

Mr Harrington said “it will be for investigators to determine whether this is a terrorist incident”, adding they will be “keeping an open mind” over the motive.

Tory veteran Sir David had been an MP since 1983 and was married with five children.