BOURNEMOUTH MPs are split over whether more protection should be given to politicians in public appearances following the death of Sir David Amess.

The veteran backbencher was fatally stabbed whilst at a public surgery at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday October 15.

Christchurch MP Sir Chris Chope has paid tribute to his close friend and colleague, who were both first elected at the same time nearly 40 years ago.

He said: “David and I were first elected in 1983 so with his passing, there are only five of us left in parliament who were elected back then.

“We were good mates and he and I shared a love and appreciation for Margaret Thatcher.

“I want to say how sorry I am for to his wife and family and the two-party assistants that were there at the time. The whole thing is so sad.

When asked whether face-to-face meetings should be temporarily stopped or continued, Mr Chope said “I am very much in the latter category”.

“We should carry on and not be intimidated by this incident. It is what he would have wanted.

“There have been a of these sorts of grotesque incidents, but it doesn’t mean that our constituents should not have access to speak to their MPs.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Police have named the 25-year-old arrested in connection with the stabbing as Ali Harbi Ali, who is currently being held under the Terrorism Act.

It is understood that Mr Ali was referred to the counter-terrorist prevent scheme some years ago, but was never a formal subject of interest to MI5.

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, has also praised Sir David as a “wonderfully encouraging and compassionate man” and mentor, who was one of the first politicians he met when he became an MP in 2005.

Bournemouth Echo:

However he stands by his comments made in the wake of the Mr Ali’s arrest that face-to-face meetings between MPs and their constituents should be temporarily paused while more robust safety measures are established.

Mr Ellwood said: “This individual was known to the authorities and was on the watch list. It is a reminder that extremism still grows in this country and our sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan has played a part in that.

“One of the key messages is the total commitment from both sides that the openness and the acceptability of MPs must be upheld. It is a hallmark of British politics and something that you don’t really see anywhere else in the world.

“However, this tragic incident does raise questions about how you keep MPs and member of the public safe.”


Mr Ellwood also stated that the recent incident highlights a greater urgency to quash radicalisation in the UK to prevent attacks like this happening again in the future.

“We are no further ahead in irradicating radicalisation from the country than we were a few years ago,” he added.

“There are still individuals that are being led to believe that they will find paradise by committing these types of authorities.

“Until we face that difficult issue, other attacks will happen in the future.”