The killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess has been declared a terrorist incident by police.
Counter-terrorism police have formally declared the fatal stabbing of parliamentarian Sir David Amess an act of terrorism.
“The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” according to a statement from Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard on Friday.
The UK’s Counter-Terrorism Command will lead the investigation into the murder, police said Friday.
Authorities said they believed the suspect acted alone and they are “not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time. However, enquiries into the circumstances continue,” the statement added.
The 69-year-old member of Parliament, who represented Southend West in Essex, was attacked at about midday Friday by a man who walked into a meeting with voters from his electoral district being held in a Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” Essex police said.
“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”
The knifeman who killed MP Sir David Amess waited calmly at his constituency surgery inside a church before stabbing him to death, it has been claimed.
Two female staff watched in horror as he strolled up to the 69-year-old before pulling out his knife and launching his attack.
He is said to have stayed silent as he stabbed the married dad-of-five up to 17 times at 12.05pm, The Sun reports.
The two horrified women ran out and tried to raise the alarm, while the suspect sat and waited for police to arrive.
The man arrested on suspicion of murdering Amess is believed to be a British national with Somali heritage, official sources have said.
As part of the investigation, officers are currently carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area, the Met said.
The murder dredged up painful memories of the shocking killing of Jo Cox five years ago.
The killing was another grim moment in Britain’s political history. It marks the second murder of a sitting member of parliament in five years, after Labour’s MP Jo Cox was assassinated by a far-right fanatic in her constituency in 2016, this murder has reignited discussions about the safety of the UK’s elected officials.
Jo Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, wrote the news “brings everything back.”
“My thoughts and love are with David’s family. 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,” he said on Twitter.
Jo Cox was killed by a man with extreme right-wing views, just days before the UK’s heated referendum on leaving the European Union. That campaign and its fallout raised the temperature of political discourse in the country, and several politicians have since spoken about receiving abuse in person and online.
The country’s political, religious and societal leaders, and its royal family, all condemned the attack and paid tribute to Amess.
Those who knew him described Amess as a dedicated local representative, deeply embedded within his community and disinterested in the careerism of national politics.
All our hearts are full of shock and sadness at the death of Sir David Amess MP.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 15, 2021
He was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics. pic.twitter.com/SIx6SZ1P3w
Prime Minister Johnson was joined by all of his living predecessors in expressing shock, and politicians from every corner of the political spectrum spoke of their sadness, concern, and anger after another of their colleagues was killed while meeting with his constituents.
“We are shocked and saddened by the murder of Sir David Amess, who dedicated 40 years of his life to serving his community,” William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.”
Jeremy Corbyn stated in a Tweet: “My deepest condolences to David Amess’ friends, family and loved ones. Am very sorry for them all. There was never a more enthusiastic tribune for Southend than David, who many MPs from across the political spectrum have worked with and respected since he became an MP in 1983.”
My deepest condolences to David Amess’ friends, family and loved ones. Am very sorry for them all.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 15, 2021
There was never a more enthusiastic tribune for Southend than David, who many MPs from across the political spectrum have worked with and respected since he became an MP in 1983.
The Met said its counter-terrorism command was leading the investigation alongside colleagues from Essex Police and the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit (ERSOU).
Essex Police chief constable BJ Harrington said Sir David was “simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short”.
Following the attack, Home Secretary Priti Patel asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs “with immediate effect”.
Ms Patel said the killing “represents a senseless attack on democracy itself”, adding that “questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives”.
Sir David had been an MP since 1983 and was married with five children. He is the second serving MP to be killed in the past five years, following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.
House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told BBC2’s Newsnight that police were contacting all MPs to check on their security and reassure them following the killing of Sir David.
He said he had gone ahead with his constituency surgery as normal on Friday evening and said it was essential that MPs were able to retain their relationship with their constituents.
“We have got to make sure that democracy survives this,” he said.
But Conservative MP Tobias Elwood told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight he would recommend that no MP should have face-to-face meetings with constituents following the stabbing of Sir David.
“You can move to Zoom… you can actually achieve an awful lot over the telephone,” he said.
And Kim Leadbeater, the sister of Ms Cox and MP for Batley and Spen, said her partner had asked her to stand down from her role following Sir David’s death.