Johnson leads tributes to ‘dedicated public servant’ David Amess

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led tributes yesterday to “dedicated, passionate” David Amess, a veteran MP stabbed to death while meeting members of the public in an attack that has heightened concern about politicians’ safety.

r Amess (69) was knifed at a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London. At the scene, police arrested the 25-year-old son of an ex-media adviser to a former Somali prime minister. He remains in custody.

They are treating the attack, which Mr Johnson described as a “contemptible act of violence”, as potential terrorism.

Mr Amess was the second British MP to be killed in five years and politicians from across the political spectrum, some fighting back tears, paid tribute to a man they described as a kind, funny, dedicated public servant.

“We will not allow the manner of Sir David’s death to in any way detract from his accomplishments as a politician or as a human being,” Mr Johnson told a packed House of Commons, which earlier observed a minute’s silence.

“David was a patriot who believed passionately in this country, in its people, in its future. He was also one of the nicest, kindest, and most gentle individuals ever to grace these benches.”

Mr Johnson announced the town of Southend-on-Sea in Mr Amess’s electoral district would be made a city in his honour. 

After two hours of tributes in parliament, politicians attended a remembrance service at St Margaret’s Church for the father-of-five, who had been a member of parliament for nearly 40 years.

“There are tears on all sides of the house this afternoon,” said Labour’s Harriet Harman, the longest-serving female member of parliament.

Mr Amess’s family said he was a patriot and a man of peace. “So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward,” they said.

Many colleagues remembered times Mr Amess had made them laugh, including how the devoted Catholic once had a boiled sweet blessed by the Pope after retrieving it from his pocket as just the wrong moment.

“The pope took the sweet thinking it was a revered object to be blessed, blessed the revered object and David had to put it in his pocket, a holy sweet,” said James Duddridge.

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