Hastings MP says ‘incredibly important’ to meet constituents face-to-face in wake of Sir David Amess’ death
Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart has said it is ‘incredibly important’ that consituents are still able to meet their MP face-to-face as possible new security measures are discussed.
Her comments come in the wake of the death of Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, on Friday (October 15).
Today (Monday, October 18) the House of Commons commission is meeting to discuss the safety of MPs and possible new measures.
Mrs Hart said: “The appalling murder of Sir David Amess MP has horrified and shocked the country, and I know that this loss is being felt keenly by all of my colleagues across Parliament, no matter an individual’s party affiliation or political views.
“Whilst the individual that has perpetrated this attack is entirely responsible for their actions, it has thrown into sharp relief the abuse and vitriol that MPs across the United Kingdom face on a regular basis as they go about their day-to-day work representing their constituents, particularly on social media.
“I have not yet spoken to one of my colleagues who does not have a recent example of personal abuse directed towards them and this can - and does - veer towards intimidation, threatening behaviour and, as was tragically seen on Friday, physical harm.
“In light of Sir David’s murder and the backdrop of abuse that MPs regularly face, I welcome that the Home Secretary has asked police forces to review the safety measures in place for MPs, including when at advice surgeries.
“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of democratically elected representatives, and I welcome that the House of Commons commission will meet today (Monday, October 18) to consider this matter further.
“However, I know that many of my colleagues, myself included, recognise the incredibly important role that face-to-face engagement with constituents at advice surgeries plays in preserving and bolstering British democracy.
“New measures that can mitigate the dangers posed to MPs at surgeries are rightfully being considered, but they must also be balanced with an understanding of the crucial function that in-person and accessible surgeries fulfil.”