Toronto Star

Leaders pay tribute to slain British lawmaker

David Amess’s death reopens questions about political security needs

- MAYUKO ONO AND PAN PYLAS

LEIGH-ON-SEA, ENGLAND—David Amess was a man of the people, a hard-working British lawmaker who had no grand political ambitions beyond serving those who had elected him for nigh-on 40 years.

His shocking death at the hands of a knife-wielding man at a church where he was meeting voters has reopened questions about the security needs of Britain’s members of Parliament as they go about their daily work. Police, who have said it was a terrorist-related attack, continued Saturday to question a 25-year-old British man.

For the second time in five years, Britain’s political leaders put their difference­s aside to gather Saturday morning at the scene of a fallen colleague. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party, stood side-by-side and laid flowers as they paid tribute to the long-serving lawmaker, who was stabbed to death less than 24 hours earlier.

The slaying of the 69-year-old Conservati­ve lawmaker at a regular meeting with local voters has caused shock and anxiety across Britain’s political spectrum, not least because it is reminiscen­t of the 2016 murder of Labour lawmaker Jo Cox by a far-right extremist in her own small-town constituen­cy.

“He was killed doing a job that he loves, serving his own constituen­ts as an elected democratic member and, of course, acts of this are absolutely wrong, and we cannot let that get in the way of our functionin­g democracy,” British Home Secretary Priti Patel said after paying her respects to Amess at the church where he died.

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