Boris Johnson expresses 'shock' and 'sadness' after death of MP Sir David Amess

The Prime Minister has expressed his "shock" and "sadness"  at the loss of "fine public servant" Sir David Amess MP, who was killed in his constituency yesterday.

File photo dated 10/10/13 of Conservative MP David Amess with his pugs, Lily and Boat at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition at Victoria Tower Gardens in London (PA)

The politician who had served in the House of Commons for almost four decades was described as one of the “kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics” by Boris Johnson, having been fatally stabbed while he met constituents at a church in Leigh on Sea, Essex.

The attack on Conservative Sir David, 69, has been described by a Cabinet minister as “a senseless attack on democracy itself” as Westminster has been left reeling by the second killing of an MP in just half a decade.

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Paying tribute to the Tory veteran who was first elected in 1983, Mr Johnson said: “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,whether the people who are suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals, or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country.”

Flags across Westminster were being flown at half mast yesterday evening, but questions were already being raised around the safety of MPs given the killing of Mr Amess came only five years after the murder of Yorkshire MP Jo Cox in Birstall.

Ms Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater, who is now serving as Batley and Spen MP, expressed her shock that “something so horrific could happen to another MP”

Speaking to reporters she added: “I find myself now working as a politician and trying to help people and trying to do good things for people and it's really important that we get good people in public life.

“But this is the risk that we're all taking, and so many MPs today will be scared by this.

“My partner came home and said, I don't want you to do it anymore. Don’t do it,

“Because the next time that phone goes it could be different conversation.”

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would provide an update “in due course” on the safety of MPs as she passed on her “heartfelt thoughts and prayers” to Sir David’s family.

She added: “David served the people of Southend with endless passion, energy and integrity. That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heartbreaking beyond words. It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself.”

The father of five who had represented the seats of Basildon, and later Southend West was remembered on both sides of the House, including by former Labour MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff, was among those sharing memories of “fundamentally the kindest of men”.

She told The Yorkshire Post: “I adored him.”

“ I suppose on paper you wouldnt have thought we’d be close our politics were very different.. I'll never forget his kindness, particularly when I was diagnosed with cancer last year. Obviously I wasn't an MP then but you know he reached out and I'll never forget his humour. He was such a funny man and wonderful company. There are no words.

She added: “He was a real true gentleman and Parliament could do with a few more of those.”

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Sir David, Essex Police said, and they are not looking for anybody else in connection with the incident.