Priti vows not to be cowed amid calls for Zoom-only meetings after MP murder

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Priti Patel says she will not be “cowardly” amidst calls for all meetings between politicians and constituents on Zoom in the wake of Sir David Ames murder.

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Tobias Ellwood said all personal contact with voters should be temporarily suspended following yesterday’s horrific explosion at an Essex church.

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Priti Patel says MPs should not be ‘cowardly’ by terrorism – hours after paying tribute to murdered backbencher Sir David Amescredit: Andrew Parsons / No. 10 Downing Street
Serving MP Tobias Ellwood said all face-to-face meetings between politicians and voters should be suspended in the wake of Sir David's death.

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Serving MP Tobias Ellwood said all face-to-face meetings between politicians and voters should be suspended in the wake of Sir David’s death.Credit:
The father of five children was murdered yesterday in an Essex church

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The father of five children was murdered yesterday in an Essex churchcredit: pixel8000

But the Home Secretary said that politicians should not succumb to terror.

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“We can’t be afraid of a person or an inspiration to stop us from working,” he told reporters today.

Speaking after joining Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer to plant flowers at the site of Sir David’s murder, she said: “We are open to surgery while doing our part.

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“We will continue to do so.”

He said security measures would be put in place to allow MPs to meet voters safely.

“Measures are underway now,” she said.

The police have also announced that they will contact all MPs regarding their security arrangements after the tragedy.

Others who knew Sir David, a married father of five children, said he “hated” speaking online – and always wanted “face-to-face meetings”.

Mr Elwood, a former Conservative minister who serves Bournemouth East, argued that the meetings should be put on hold pending a review.

Former Green Jackets who gave CPR to police officer Keith Palmer, who was killed during the Westminster terror attack, said: “The Parliamentarian’s engagement with the public is an important part of our work.

“but [it’s] perceptible [there’s] Now there is a lot of uneasiness among the MPs

“I would recommend a temporary break in face-to-face meetings till the Home Secretary’s review of MP security is completed.”

However, former cabinet minister David Davies said such a move would be “a terrible reflection of what David is standing up to”.

He told Sky News: “I don’t think we should do that. I’m sorry, I disagree with Tobias on that.


Tragedy comes as…

  • Boris Johnson pays tribute to Sir David – and says ‘our hearts are full of shock and sadness’
  • Anti-terrorism police interrogates 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder
  • A British citizen of Somali origin, the suspect allegedly stabbed the MP 17 times – and sat down peacefully while waiting for police to arrive
  • Sir David was told to stop meeting constituents alone after the murder of Joe Cox – and wrote that similar attacks “could happen to any of us”.
  • Mrs Cox’s sister says her frightened husband has asked her to withdraw from politics after the terror
  • Priti Patel begins review of security of MPs after murder
  • There were tears in a vigil last night as friends and constituents remembered their beloved MP

“I don’t think David (agreed) would either.

“Sure, we should be cautious, maybe we should do something to make sure that the people who come to see us are truthful, but I think it would be a bad idea to really withhold.

“It would be a terrible reflection of what David stood for – David himself was the last constituency MP.

“You can see that in the reaction of the people in his constituency.”

Meanwhile, Ann Widicombe said that Sir David “hates Zoom”.

“He hated online,” she said.

“He wanted face-to-face meetings with his constituents and, even if his problem was the 30th such case he heard that day, he would attack him relentlessly.”

Police confirmed that each UK MP would be contacted by their local force under Operation Bridger, which was set up in 2016.

Politicians will be asked about their security arrangements.

‘He hates Zoom’

According to reports, Sir David was meeting with constituents in Leh-on-Sea, Essex, when he was stabbed 17 times.

A 25-year-old British national of Somali origin was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Counter Terror Police is interrogating the suspect today. He is suspected to have been inspired by Islamic extremism.

He is believed to have lived in Sir David’s Southend West constituency after his family moved to Britain from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s.

He had reportedly booked a slot for the surgery to talk to the MP.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with their investigation.

Former Green Jacket Tobias Ellwood said he understands politicians are very eager to resume meetings with the public

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Former Green Jacket Tobias Ellwood said he understands politicians are very eager to resume meetings with the publiccredit: Rex Features
However, others said that Sir David, along with his wife and three of their five children, believed in public engagement - and 'hated' Zoom.

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However, others said that Sir David, along with his wife and three of their five children, believed in public engagement – and ‘hated’ Zoom.credit: Rex

Sir David Ames: Boris Johnson joins Priti Patel and Keir Starmer to pay tribute to slain MP

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