British lawmaker Sir David Amess, of the Conservative Party, died Friday after being stabbed several times in his Southend West constituency.
Amess, the member of parliament for Southend West, was meeting with voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday.
Just after 3 p.m. local time, Essex police issued a statement in which it confirmed that a man had died at the scene of the stabbing.
“A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea,” the force said.
“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12:05 p.m. today [Friday 15 October].
“We attended and found a man injured. He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.
“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.
“He is currently in custody. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”
Tributes poured in for Amess, who was first elected to parliament in 1983, as the MP for Basildon, before becoming the MP for Southend West in 1997.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all our hearts are filled with “shock” and “sadness” as he reacted to the death.
The prime minister said Amess was killed after “almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom”.
He added: “The reason people are so shocked and sad is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.
“He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.”
Johnson was due to hold a meeting of his cabinet in southwest England today, but planned media appearances by the prime minister have been canceled.
Brendan Cox, the husband of the late Labour Party MP Jo Cox who was stabbed and shot to death in her Batley constituency in 2016, said: “This brings everything back.”
“My thoughts and love are with David’s family,” he tweeted. “They are all that matter now. This brings everything back. The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now.”
Former Conservative prime minister David Cameron said: “This is the most devastating, horrific and tragic news.
“David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man – and he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet. Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David’s family.”
Amess, married with five children, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his public service in 2015.
He never served in a ministerial or shadow ministerial role, focussing his efforts on local constituency matters. He was popular with politicians and known for his active contributions to debates – often about issues relating to his Essex constituency or animal rights.
Opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Horrific and deeply shocking news. Thinking of David, his family and his staff.”
Carrie Johnson, the prime minister’s wife, tweeted: “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess.
“He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.”
His death is the latest attack on MPs in their constituencies.
The country was rocked when the 41-year-old Labour MP for Batley and Spen was shot and stabbed in her constituency by a far-right supporter on June 16, 2016.
In May 2010, East Ham MP Stephen Timms was stabbed twice in the abdomen by Roshonara Choudhry, an Islamic extremist who claimed she had wanted “to get revenge for the people of Iraq.”
Timms suffered serious injuries and according to police was “extremely fortunate not to have been killed.” He remains an MP.
Nigel Jones, then MP for Cheltenham, was severely injured in January 2000 when he was attacked in his offices by a man with a sword.
Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councillor, was killed in the same attack while trying to defend the then-MP.
He was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery.
The attacker, Robert Ashman, had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was deemed unfit to stand trial and was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital.
Last year, Amess wrote in his book – Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster – about Cox’s murder and how it had “rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”
He said he had experienced “nuisance” from members of the public at his home, and would regularly check his locks.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove said Amess was a “good and gentle man.”
“He showed charity and compassion to all, his every word and act were marked by kindness. My heart goes out to his family.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab tweeted: “Heartbroken that we have lost Sir David Amess MP.
“A great common sense politician and a formidable campaigner with a big heart, and tremendous generosity of spirit – including towards those he disagreed with. RIP my friend.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: “Shocked to hear of the attack on Sir David Amess. Praying for him, his loved ones and his staff.
“Our elected representatives must be able to live and work without fear of violence or intimidation if we are to maintain our democracy.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Elected representatives from across the political spectrum will be united in sadness and shock today.
“In a democracy, politicians must be accessible and open to scrutiny, but no-one deserves to have their life taken while working for and representing their constituents.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about the death of Sir David Amess. A truly despicable and horrifying act.
“My thoughts are with his friends, family, and constituency staff during this distressing time.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “This is tragic and horrible news. My thoughts are with David’s wife and children, the wider family, friends and David’s community.
“A truly terrible day for British politics but most importantly of all our prayers are with all the people who loved David.”
Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away.
“He loved being an MP and was a great public servant. It is just awful. My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Londoners, are with David’s loved ones at this time of unimaginable grief.”
This story has been updated throughout.