LONDON [SMN] – Counter-terror police are investigating after Conservative MP Sir David Amess died after being stabbed at a surgery in his constituency.
Sir David, who represented Southend West in Essex, was attacked shortly after midday on Friday at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
He was found with multiple injuries and, despite the efforts of police officers and paramedics, the MP died at the scene.
A 25-year-old man was immediately arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.
A knife was recovered at the scene.
Sky News understands the individual who has been arrested is a British citizen with Somali heritage.
Essex Police chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “The investigation is in the very early stages and is being led by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s specialist counter terror command.
“We made it clear at the time of the incident that we did not believe there was any immediate threat to anyone else in the area.
“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this may have been a terrorist incident. As always they will keep an open mind.”
Sky News understands a man walked into Sir David’s constituency surgery and stabbed him multiple times, with the MP said to have suffered more than a dozen wounds.
An air ambulance was seen arriving at the scene on Friday afternoon.
Sir David, a 69-year-old father-of-five, had been MP for Southend West since 1997 and first entered parliament in 1983.
He never held a ministerial role during his long parliamentary career and instead focussed his efforts from the back benches of the House of Commons.
Flags at parliament and Downing Street have been lowered to half mast following Sir David’s death.
Tributes have been paid to the long-serving MP from across the political spectrum, including from all five surviving former prime ministers; Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major.
Some politicians even called for Southend to be given city status, which was a long-running campaign of Sir David’s, in memory of the MP.
Boris Johnson described Sir David as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, as the current prime minister paid tribute to his “outstanding” campaigning work on endometriosis, animal cruelty and fuel poverty.
“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and its future,” Mr Johnson said. “We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague.”
The prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, posted on Twitter: “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.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described a “dark and shocking day” as he urged people to “come together in response to these horrendous events”.
“The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before,” he said.
“We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”