Boris Johnson news - live: MPs urge PM to tackle social media abuse as Commons pays tribute to David Amess

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·36 min read
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MPs are urging Boris Johnson to bring forward a long-promised crackdown on social media abuse as the Commons paid tribute to murdered MP Sir David Amess this afternoon.

An Online Harms Bill to fine tech companies that fail to remove illegal and harmful content has been suggested since 2019 but no action has been taken yet.

On Monday, Mr Johnson paid tribute to Sir David, calling him one of the “nicest, kindest and most gentle individuals ever to grace these benches”.

As part of a two-hour session dedicated entirely to MPs sharing stories and remembering their colleague, the prime minister said: “We will not allow the manner of Sir David’s death to detract from his accomplishments as a politician or as a human being”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also echoed Mr Johnson’s sentiments, saying Sir David was “a man whose decency touched everybody that he met”.

Follow our live coverage below

Read More

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David Amess: Father ‘traumatised’ after son held over MP’s killing

Ministers ignored official recommendations to combat hateful extremism

Key Points

  • PM labels David Amess ‘one of the kindest individuals to grace Westminster’

  • ...after House of Commons observes a minute’s silence for him

  • MPs urge Boris Johnson to end long delay to social media abuse crackdown

  • Southend to be given city status in nod to Amess, PM announces

  • Murdered Tory MP’s family visit tributes at murder scene

  • Up to MPs if they want to continue with constituency surgeries, says PM

  • Man arrested over death threat against Labour’s Chris Bryant

13:58 , Sam Hancock

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest developments and reactions to the murder of Sir David Amess. Boris Johnson will lead tributes to the Tory MP, in the House of Commons, this afternoon.

PM to lead David Amess tributes in Commons

07:55 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson is set to lead tributes to Sir David Amess in the House of Commons on Monday.

For at least two hours, politicians will be able to share their memories of the Conservative MP for Southend West after a morning of prayers and a minute’s silence at 2.30pm.

Speaker of the Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle will make a statement before the PM moves a motion for an adjournment, which will enable parliamentarians to open the tributes session, lasting until 5.30pm.

On Sunday evening, Sir David’s family described how their “hearts are shattered” after he was attacked while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday.

In a statement published through the Metropolitan Police, his wife, four daughters and son said:

“Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace.

“So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.

“As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.”

Brendan Cox urges UK public and media to improve terror response

07:58 , Sam Hancock

Brendan Cox, the widower of Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016, spoke to the BBC this morning, where he commended Sir David Amess’ family for their “amazing” statement which he said was “filled with dignity”.

Asked what needs to be done to prevent more public servants losing their life in this way, Mr Cox said Britain – particularly the media – needs to improve its response to terrorism. “What tends to motivate individuals who commit these kinds of attacks is a desire to divide our societies,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “which is why the statement from [Sir David’s] family is so effective because it denies terrorists what they want ... they want that division so let’s give them togetherness.”

He added: “Let’s not put their pictures on the front pages of newspapers – we have to stop playing into their hands and being the inadvertent amplifiers of terrorism.”

Cox said Amess’ family will ‘no doubt’ have been comforted by the British public’s ‘amazing’ response (Getty)
Cox said Amess’ family will ‘no doubt’ have been comforted by the British public’s ‘amazing’ response (Getty)

House of Commons schedule for Monday

08:01 , Sam Hancock

Here are the timings for the special Commons session dedicated to Sir David Amess today:

House of Commons

2.30pm Prayers followed by a minute’s silence

2.35pm Home Office questions

3.30pm Tributes to Sir David Amess

5.30pm House expected to adjourn for the day

Westminster Hall

Not sitting

House of Lords

2.30pm Oral questions

3.30pm Skills and Post-16 Education Bill - report stage (day 2)

Competition Act 1998 (Coronavirus) (Public Policy Exclusions) (Revocations) Order 2021 - motion to regret

MPs ‘likely’ to be offered security guards after Amess killing – Raab

08:05 , Sam Hancock

MPs are set to be offered more private security guards for when meeting their constituents at surgery events following the murder of Sir David Amess, the justice secretary has signalled.

Dominic Raab said an increase in private security is the most “likely” option to boost safety, rather than putting more police officers outside MPs’ surgeries, reports Adam Forrest.

Asked if he would welcome plainclothes officers at his surgeries, he told Sky News: “I probably wouldn’t choose to have them outside a surgery that I had. I would worry about the chilling effect, I’m not sure it’s necessary to have that.”

But Raab added: “I think we’re more likely to look at things like private security guards, there’s already I believe money available for that.”

MPs ‘likely’ to be offered private security after David Amess killing, says Raab

Clip of Raab discussing future of MPs’ security

08:06 , Sam Hancock

Ministers ‘ignored official recommendations to combat hateful extremism’

08:11 , Sam Hancock

Ministers have failed to act on any of the official recommendations for tackling the rise of extremism in Britain, it has emerged.

Over three years, the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) – set up by Theresa May in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack – has repeatedly warned more had to be done to tackle the evolving threats facing the UK, including closing legal loopholes that allowed those who inspired terrorists to go free.

But ministers have not formally responded to any of the reports released by the body since 2019, and none of the suggested measures have been put in place, despite warnings that security threats would worsen until the government stepped up its response, writes our security correspondent Lizzie Dearden.

Follow her exclusive report here:

Ministers ignored official recommendations to combat hateful extremism

Shadow home secretary discusses death threat experience

08:15 , Sam Hancock

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said this morning Sir David Amess’s death “hasn’t sunk in” - before revealing he himself has been subject to death threats because of his job.

“I still have a sense of disbelief, really, about what’s happened,” the Labour MP for Torfaen told BBC Breakfast.

He described the Conservative MP for Southend West as “a very kind and very generous man”.

Speaking about his own experience of violent threats, Mr Thomas-Symonds told the morning programme:

“I’ve had incidents since I’ve become a member of Parliament, whether it’s intimidation while out on the streets, death threats, terrible letters, awful emails.

“I am in no sense alone in that. I don’t know a member of Parliament who has not suffered in that way. It’s clear that something now has to change.”

Raab supports removing right to anonymity on social media

08:25 , Sam Hancock

More from the deputy PM now. Dominic Raab this morning signalled he could support closing anonymous social media accounts in a bid to tackle online hatred.

He raised concerns that he did not want to “send a message to tyrants all over the world that they can expose” campaigners who need anonymity.

“On balance I think there is a case for really looking very carefully at this,” he told Sky News. “I don’t see why people should be able to abuse the position on social media from a veil of anonymity.”

It comes after home secretary Priti Patel told the broadcaster’s Sunday with Trevor Phillips programme she was considering making the move. “I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, who’ve had all sorts of postings put online and it’s a struggle to get those postings taken down. We want to make some big changes on that,” she said.

Cox recalls ‘very physical reaction’ to news of Amess attack

08:44 , Sam Hancock

Asked this morning how he reacted to news of Sir David Amess’ murder, Brendan Cox told Times Radio it was “very physical”.

“I had a very physical reaction to it. I found it extremely difficult to function for a while,” the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox said, adding:

“That was both from being back in that moment five years ago when I got the call from somebody in Jo’s office telling me that she had been attacked.

“But also just knowing what that family would be going through. The pain of the desperate hope in those immediate minutes when you hope that they are not too badly hurt to then the realisation of what’s happened and the darkness and sadness of that, that is then with you for years, for the rest of your life.”

Hoyle calls for careful consideration into issue of MP security

08:49 , Sam Hancock

Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons speaker, has said the UK must avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” to the problem of keeping MPs safe in the wake of Sir David Amess’ murder.

“Let us reflect on what actually happened here, what can we learn from this, what can we put in place to make it safer”, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Sir Lindsay added he does not want to end up in a situation where MPs have the level of security that surrounds American politicians, such as Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

“Do I want to be like Speaker Pelosi, who can’t go anywhere without armed police? Is that a life I want? No.”

He also called for “nicer politics”, claiming the public would follow MPs’ lead if elected officials were to show greater kindness to one another.

‘Inevitability’ to Southend becoming city, says Raab

08:56 , Sam Hancock

My colleague Adam Forrest reports:

Justice secretary Dominic Raab said there is a “certain inevitability” to Southend becoming a city after the murder of MP Sir David Amess – who long campaigned for the move.

Raab told LBC radio: “It feels like a certain inevitability about this campaign … Let me respect the mechanism for deciding it but say that I think it will be a very fitting tribute if it should come to pass.”

Man allegedly arrested over death threat against Labour MP

09:12 , Sam Hancock

More MPs have shared their experiences of receiving threats due to their jobs, with Labour MP Chris Bryant sharing that an arrest has been made over a death threat he was on the end of.

“I can’t tell you much because the police have arrested this chap,” he told the PA news agency today, adding he had flown back from Qatar having been looking “at what’s happening to the refugees from Afghanistan who are all transiting through Doha”.

“I got back on Saturday and the first message in my inbox was this death threat, pretty clear, so I notified the police and they have taken action,” Mr Bryant said.

He added levels of abuse in British politics have risen in recent years:

“It’s pretty sour. It’s more sour now than I’ve known it in 20 years.

“Some of the political debates have been really vicious and sharp, especially over Brexit - though this has nothing to do with Brexit in itself - and for that matter the anti-vaxxers and so on.”

Mr Bryant, who is gay, added: “I think it’s women, black and ethnic minority and gay MPs who get the brunt of it, but everybody gets some of this.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant who represents Rhondda (PA)
Labour MP Chris Bryant who represents Rhondda (PA)

Cop26 sponsors hit out at ‘inexperienced’ staff running ‘mismanaged’ summit

09:21 , Sam Hancock

Over to Cop26 now. Some of the world’s biggest companies which have ploughed vast sums of sponsorship money into the upcoming Cop26 climate summit – including broadcaster Sky – have reportedly complained of a chaotic lead-up to the Glasgow event overseen by “inexperienced” officials and plagued by delays.

“Frustrations” have been raised about apparent “inertia” by organisers in the weeks and months preceding the major environmental summit, at which countries are expected to sign up to ambitious new climate targets.

Among the reported concerns was that “very inexperienced” civil servants were being tasked with organising the conference, leading to delays, poor communication and a breakdown in relations between officials and sponsors, writes Tom Batchelor.

Cop26 sponsors ‘complain of mismanaged climate summit’

Left and right must stop ‘dehumanising’ one another - Cox

09:40 , Sam Hancock

More from Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, now.

He told Times Radio both leftwing and rightwing MPs and supporters need to stop “dehumanising” each other.

“You have people who say ‘I’ve never kissed a Tory’ as a badge of honour on the left”, he said, warning this behaviour is a “celebration of political segregation”.

“I think that is absolutely something that we have to challenge. And linked to that we have to stop dehumanising our opponents”, he added.

Watch: Police enter flat believed to be related to Amess murder

09:50 , Sam Hancock

Rayner receives flack for ‘Tory scum’ remark after Amess stabbing

10:16 , Sam Hancock

Deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing said her heart “sank” when Angela Rayner described Conservatives MPs as “scum” at a Labour conference reception.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, she said: “I hesitate to get involved in that debate but my heart sank when I heard that, because it’s bad enough when people who feel badly about politicians [do it], or indeed those in the media - and some of your colleagues are responsible for this, the insulting way in which they speak to politicians - but when one of our own does it it’s so much worse.”

Dame Eleanor also hit out at “laziness” in political reporting, claiming that events outside the “theatrical” Prime Minister’s Questions are not given enough attention.

Calls for Ms Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, to apologise for the insult have intensified since Sir David Amess’ death. Barrister and TV personality Rob Rinder told listeners on his Talk Radio show over the weekend: “Tory Scum is trending on Twitter. At the same time, women MPs will face daily rape and death threats.”

However, Guardian columnist Owen Jones said using Sir David’s “brutal murder ... to target the left for criticising the Tories” was a “gruesome deflection” from conversations that should be taking place.

Watch: ‘Nobody’s going stop me,’ says Bryant after death threat

10:33 , Sam Hancock

Raab says he feels more at risk from ‘mentally unwell’ people than terror groups

10:42 , Sam Hancock

Amid concerns over the effectiveness of Prevent scheme, Dominic Raab stressed its significance but said he feels more at risk from “misguided or mentally unwell” people.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

“I personally think I’m more at risk from those who are either misguided or mentally unwell than from a concerted, organised terrorist attack. But Prevent is important.

“It is one line of defence, one mitigation against the risks we face. Prevent is under review, it has been under iterative review throughout its existence; we will of course learn all the lessons as the result of that and this terrible, appalling case.”

Prevent, the government’s anti-terror programme, aims to safeguard people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The man arrested for the murder of David Amess was referred to the counter-terrorist Prevent scheme some years ago, but was never a formal subject of interest to MI5, according to the BBC. Ali Harbi Ali is currently being held under the Terrorism Act.

UK’s speedy ‘return to normal’ explains increase in Covid cases – report

10:48 , Sam Hancock

The i’s Hugo Gye reports the following, with the graph below suggesting Britain’s hasty “return to normal” could explain why it has significantly more Covid cases than other nations in Europe.

“This could obviously be reversed by reimposing legally binding rules; it could possibly be reversed by the government pushing advice more aggressively *not* to return to normal,” Gye writes.

Mural of Sir David Amess appears at Leigh-on-Sea skatepark

10:59 , Sam Hancock

A mural of Sir David Amess has appeared at a skatepark he opened 13 years ago in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

The Tory MP, who represented Southend West, was fatally stabbed on Friday as he held a regular constituency surgery.

Local artist Madmanity, who created the work, called it “Why?” and said it was a “thank you from this community”.

“He opened the skatepark and it is the closest legal graffiti wall to the crime scene,” the artist told the BBC.

“There is no better place to do this. I wanted to send a thank you from this community.”

Graffiti depicting the late Amess, who was killed on Friday, appeared on a wall in Leigh-on-Sea this morning (Getty)
Graffiti depicting the late Amess, who was killed on Friday, appeared on a wall in Leigh-on-Sea this morning (Getty)

MPs reveal death threats and frustration at police inaction

11:10 , Sam Hancock

MPs have revealed their growing frustration with police inaction over death threats they have received, as they prepare to pay tribute to Sir David Amess in the wake of the Conservative backbencher’s murder.

Former Labour MP Paula Sherriff said West Yorkshire Police officers “laughed” at her after she reported a death threat, while other politicians complained about a “patchy” police response to threats, reports Adam Forrest.

It comes as justice secretary Dominic Raab revealed he had received at least three threats on “life and limb” in the past two years – the latest being an acid attack.

Police ‘laughed’ at death threat, says former Labour MP

Brussels hints EU unlikely to move on ECJ’s role in NI Protocol – reports

11:34 , Sam Hancock

Some Brexit news now. The EU is reportedly unwilling to cave to UK demands to discuss removing the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from the Northern Ireland Protocol.

European Commission spokeswoman Arianna Podesta said a “very intense period of discussions” has begun but suggested they would not go further than the package proposed by the EU.

Pressed on whether talks will include ECJ this week, she told reporters in Brussels: “We are following up on the package that we have proposed on October 13 – it is a far-reaching package.”

The UK’s Brexit minister, Lord Frost, arrived in Brussels for the crunch talks on Friday.

Labour MP suffered ‘90,000 abusive social media mentions in two months’

11:47 , Sam Hancock

More MPs are coming forward with reports of death threats against them.

Sky’s Kate McCann reports the following about Dame Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP for Barking:

Watch: Lindsay Hoyle calls for ‘nicer politics’ after Amess stabbing

11:56 , Sam Hancock

David Amess’ wife visits tributes at scene of murder

12:09 , Sam Hancock

The widow of Sir David Amess, Julia, was accompanied by family members to Belfairs Methodist Church on Monday morning where she read messages to her late husband.

Wiping tears from her eyes, she read notes on floral tributes piled outside the church where the Tory MP was stabbed to death.

The minister of Belfairs Methodist Church, Rev Clifford Newman, spoke with Julia during her visit to the church and led a short private address.

The family stayed for around 15 minutes and left without speaking to reporters.

David Amess’ widow, Julia (second from left), reads floral tributes at Belfairs Methodist Church where her late husband was killed (PA)
David Amess’ widow, Julia (second from left), reads floral tributes at Belfairs Methodist Church where her late husband was killed (PA)

Politicians accused of hypocrisy over calls to ban anonymity on social media

12:31 , Sam Hancock

Occasional Independent writer Marie Le Conte gives her verdict on ministers vowing to put an end to anonymous social media users.

Daughters accompany Julia Amess to view tributes at crime scene

12:54 , Lamiat Sabin

Julia Amess was accompanied by two of her four daughters to view flowers and tributes left for her late husband.

The tributes were laid at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Tory MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery on Friday.

 (PA)
(PA)

More pics of mural that asks ‘why?’ over stabbing of Sir David Amess

13:15 , Lamiat Sabin

A mural depicting the late Sir David Amess titled ‘Why’ has been painted by local Leigh-on-Sea artist at a skatepark that the MP had opened in 2008.

The painting by Madmanity shows the Tory MP surrounded by question marks, as investigations are currently underway as to whether the man suspected of stabbing him to death had any motives linked to terrorism.

Madmanity said the mural was a “thank you from this community” for opening the skatepark – which has legal graffiti walls.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

First picture of suspect Ali Harbi Ali published

13:30 , Lamiat Sabin

A photo of the man suspected of stabbing the MP to death is being published by some media outlets.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25, is suspected of murdering 69-year-old Conservative MP Sir David Amess on Friday.

He is in custody at a London police station and is being questioned after a terrorism investigation was launched.

Up to MPs if they want to continue with constituency surgeries - PM

13:40 , Sam Hancock

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports from Westminster:

Boris Johnson believes it is up to individual MPs to decide whether to continue with face-to face meetings with their constituents, following the killing of David Amess.

The prime minister’s spokesman said he saluted the “bravery and commitment” shown by MPs who have vowed such meetings will continue – but said he would not express a view on the issue.

“MPs may rightly be concerned about security. They've been contacted by police to discuss their activities and events so their arrangements can be reviewed,” the spokesman said.

“But, while individual arrangements should rightly remain a matter for individual MPs and police, the prime minister shares the concerns with a number of MPs and ministers that this attack cannot get in the way of democracy.

“We will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us and spread hate and the PM has been struck by the bravery and commitment to serving constituents expressed by many MPs following Sir David's death.”

Asked again about face-to face meetings, he added: “It's important to emphasise that it will be down to individual MPs, working with the police, to decide what’s appropriate for them.”

Mr Johnson will lead the tributes to Sir David in the Commons this afternoon, but may not be in a position to make any announcements about new security measures immediately.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, has already announced a police-led review, which will be conclude “quickly”, No 10 says – and there is an ongoing review into whether the Prevent strategy, targeting potential terrorists, needs to be changed.

Govt ordered to name companies in ‘VIP lane’ for Covid contracts

13:53 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson’s government has been ordered to reveal the names of all the companies in a special “VIP lane” for contracts handed out during the Covid crisis.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has told the health department it must disclose the names of the companies fast-tracked to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, reports Adam Forrest.

Once again, the government has been accused of cronyism after it emerged that firms linked to the Conservative Party were given access to a High Priority Lane – dubbed the “VIP lane” by campaigners.

Government ordered to reveal companies in ‘VIP lane’ for Covid contracts

NI’s O’Neill reveals intruder was once removed from her home

14:24 , Sam Hancock

Northern Ireland’s deputy FM has revealed that she once had to remove an uninvited person from her home, as MLAs called for an end to abuse of elected representatives in the light of Sir David Amess’ murder.

“To hold public office is a privilege. We are all trying to do our best. Mr Amess was also doing his public duty,” she said as NI’s political leaders paid tribute to the murdered MP at the start of business at Stormont on Monday.

Ms O’Neill, of the Sinn Féin party, went on to reveal she had received “numerous threats that have had to be reported to the PSNI”. She told MLAs:

“I’ve had to physically remove an uninvited person from my home. That’s the type of thing we experience as public representatives and that is not acceptable for anyone to have to deal with that.

“Just before I came in to the chamber I spoke to one of our MPs who had to phone the police to remove people from his office. People who have come to protest at his office but they intimidated the staff to the point where the staff were frightened and the PSNI had to be called.

“As legislators we must defend democracy and we must promote the rule of law, so today our thoughts are very much with the family of David Amess.”

Sinn Fein’s deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill (PA)
Sinn Fein’s deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill (PA)

Watch: Online ‘vilification’ worse for women, says Raab amid social media row

14:30 , Sam Hancock

Hoyle arrives at Commons to begin today’s proceedings

14:31 , Sam Hancock

Sir Lindsay Hoyle is walking into the House of Commons to begin today’s special session, dedicated to honouring the life and public service of murdered Tory MP Sir David Amess.

Commons observes a minute’s silence for Sir David Amess

14:40 , Sam Hancock

MPs in the House of Commons have observed a minute’s silence in memory of Sir David Amess.

The speaker’s chaplain, Tricia Hillas, told the chamber: “May the bright memory of his rich life ever outshine the tragic manner of his death.”

It was followed by a short address by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of the chamber, in which he said he would do “everything in [his] power to ensure that these issues are treated with urgency and with the sense of priority that they deserve”.

Hoyle asks for a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Amess (PA)
Hoyle asks for a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Amess (PA)

Patel gives brief security update in Commons

14:52 , Sam Hancock

Priti Patel has given a brief update on security in Parliament following a question.

“There will be further updates over the next few days for members of parliament and in terms of wider public protection,” the home secretary says.

Labour MP Chris Bryant – after paying respect to Sir David Amess, a right-wing Catholic, for being someone “who didn’t agree with me about gay marriage but always asked after my husband” – asks how government can change its “toxic way of doing politics”.

Ms Patel replies: “We see far too much cruelty online and all of us have a responsibility and a duty to work together ... when it comes to this place and public life I would use one word and that is respect”.

No 10 denies PM and Carrie Johnson broke lockdown rules at Christmas

15:06 , Sam Hancock

In case you missed this story from earlier, Downing Street has denied Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie broke lockdown rules to have a close friend stay over during the Christmas period.

It follows reports the political campaigner and government adviser Nimco Ali spent time with the Johnsons in No 10 over the festive break, writes Ashley Cowburn.

Raising questions for the PM, US magazine Harper’s reported that Ms Ali, who was given an official advisory role at the Home Office in December 2020, “spent Christmas with the couple at No 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.

But a No 10 spokesperson told The Independent: “The prime minister and Mrs Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.”

No 10 denies Boris and Carrie Johnson broke lockdown rules at Christmas

Minute’s silence held for David Amess outside church where he was killed

15:19 , Sam Hancock

A minute’s silence in honour of MP Sir David Amess has also been observed outside the church where he was stabbed to death.

A police officer blew a whistle to signal the start and finish of the minute outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

Julia Amess (centre) is pictured visiting tributes outside the murder scene of her late husband, the Tory MP Sir David Amess (PA)
Julia Amess (centre) is pictured visiting tributes outside the murder scene of her late husband, the Tory MP Sir David Amess (PA)

Watch: Amess family read tributes at murder scene

15:26 , Sam Hancock

Patel remembers ‘decent’ and ‘good-humoured’ colleague David Amess

15:28 , Sam Hancock

The home secretary has paid tribute to Sir David Amess ahead of the two-hour session scheduled for MPs to do this, due to start at 3.30pm.

Priti Patel paid tribute to her “dear and loyal friend” and said the Home Office, and government, was “utterly devastated” for his “wife, children and loved ones”.

“He had a huge number of friends in his house, in his constituency, Essex and well beyond,” she told MPs, adding Sir David support “diverse causes on people and much loved animals” and often “enlivened [the] house by calls for city status for Southend”.

Ms Patel said Sir David always “conducted business of politics in a “civilised and good-humoured way”.

“Decency ran through him like the writing in a stick of Southend rock,” she said, adding: “Let’s reflect passionate commitment for the people we serve.”

Another Tory MP has received death threat since Amess murder, LBC reveals

15:32 , Sam Hancock

PM leads tributes to ‘steadfast’ Sir David Amess

15:41 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson is now paying tributes to Sir David Amess. He told the House of Commons:

“The passing of 72 hours has done little to numb the shock and sadness we all felt when we heard of the tragic and senseless death of Sir David.

“This House has lost a steadfast servant, we’ve lost a dear friend and colleague, and Julia and her children have lost a loving husband and devoted father.

“Nothing I or anyone else can say can lessen the pain, the grief, the anger they must feel at this darkest of times.”

Southend to be given city status, PM announces

15:42 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has announced that the Queen has agreed Southend will be granted city status following the murder of MP Sir David Amess.

It is a measure Sir David spent the large majority of his political career fighting for.

Johnson labels Amess ‘one of the kindest’ individuals to grace Westminster

15:48 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson said all MPs mourn with Sir David’s family and labelled him one of the “nicest, kindest and most gentle individuals ever to grace” the Commons benches.

The PM told the Commons:

“Sir David was taken from us in a contemptible act of violence striking at the core of what it is to be a member of this House, and violating both the sanctity of the church in which he was killed and the constituency surgery that is so essential to our representative democracy.

“But we will not allow the manner of Sir David’s death in any way to detract from his accomplishments as a politician or as a human being.

“Sir David was a patriot who believed passionately in this country, in its people and in its future. He was also one of the nicest, kindest and most gentle individuals ever to grace these benches.”

Southend to be given city status in tribute to David Amess

15:50 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has announced that Southend will be granted city status in a tribute to Sir David Amess, reports our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn.

The prime minister’s remarks followed a minute’s silence in the Commons chamber for the 69-year-old Conservative MP, who was killed while conducting a constituency surgery on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

“I am happy to announce that Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded city status,” Mr Johnson said in a nod to the longtime campaign of Sir David.

Southend to be given city status in tribute to Sir David Amess, PM announces

Starmer echoes PM’s sentiments: ‘We are thinking of David and his family’

16:04 , Sam Hancock

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has paid tribute to Sir David Amess, saying that on behalf of his party he wants to lean across and acknowledge the pain that is felt on the opposite benches, as he remembers just how “acutely” Jo Cox’s loss was felt on his benches.

He told the Commons:

“Each tribute paints its own picture of a committed public servant of kindness, and a man whose decency touched everybody that he met.

“Taken together these tributes are a powerful testimony to the respect, the affection and yes, the love that David was held in across politics, and across different communities. Together they speak volumes about the man that he was, and the loss that we grieve.

“Sir David was a dedicated parliamentarian and his loss is felt profoundly across this House. We are united in our grief, at this terrible time. We are thinking of David and his family. We are thinking once again, of our dear friend Jo Cox, who was killed just five short years ago.”

Sir Keir added:

“So today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I want to lean across to reach across and to acknowledge the pain that’s felt on the opposite benches, and I do. Of course our differences matter, after all that’s what democracy is about, but today we’re reminded that what we have in common, matters far more.”

Speaker reveals car bomb threat as he criticises PM for lack of action on abuse

16:13 , Conrad Duncan

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has revealed that he received a car bomb threat, as he criticised Boris Johnson’s government for failing to crack down on abuse on social media platforms.

Sir Lindsay called on social media firms to “get their act together” to tackle the hateful messages and threats sent to MPs through anonymous accounts, adding: “If it was up to me and I was in charge of legislation, I would have done something.”

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Speaker reveals car bomb threat and criticises PM over online abuse

Starmer says threats and violence against MPs must be confronted

16:23 , Conrad Duncan

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that threats and violence against politicians must be confronted in the coming days and weeks as he condemned the “cowardly attack” in which Sir David Amess was killed last week.

“It is too early for us to comment on the exact motivations and circumstances of David's killing,” Sir Keir said.

“But I want to finish by saying this: a cowardly attack on a public servant doing their job, is an attack on our country and our way of life.

“A way of life that prizes tolerance, democracy and respect. That accepts our differences - but cherishes our commonalities. That refuses to succumb to the poison of extremism.”

He added: “No matter what perverted cause, faith or ideology these attackers support, their intention is always the same - to sow division among us.”

“That is why our response must always be to show we will never be cowed, that our bonds to one another cannot be eroded, that the hatred that took Sir David's life will never win.”

Former Tory minister says Sir David Amess was his ‘best and oldest friend in politics’

16:36 , Conrad Duncan

Conservative former minister Mark Francois has described Sir David Amess as his “best and oldest friend in politics” as he paid tribute to the MP in the Commons this afternoon.

“I confess I am hurting terribly so I hope the House will therefore forgive me if because of that my contribution this afternoon is even more incoherent than usual,” Mr Francois, the MP for the neighbouring Rayleigh and Wickford constituency, said.

“Everything I ever learned about being a constituency MP I learnt from David Amess. He sponsored me for the candidates' list and he mentored me when I arrived.

“Without him I would never have become a Member of Parliament, so some might well argue he has much to answer for.”

Former PM Theresa May pays tribute to Sir David Amess

16:47 , Conrad Duncan

Former prime minister Theresa May has said that “laughter, service and compassion” are the three words that come to her mind when thinking of Sir David Amess.

“You could never have a conversation with David without laughter and smiling,” Ms May told the Commons.

“Whether it was because of one of the outrageous stories that he was telling, perhaps about one of his colleagues or somebody else - there was always smiles, always laughter, always fun around David.”

You can find her comments in full below:

MPs urge Boris Johnson to end long delay to social media abuse crackdown

17:05 , Conrad Duncan

MPs are urging Boris Johnson to end the long delay to a crackdown on social media abuse following the killing of Sir David Amess last week.

There is still no date for when an Online Harms Bill, which would aim to fine tech companies that fail to remove illegal and harmful content, will be launched - despite it being promised as long ago as 2019.

Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has the full story below:

Boris Johnson told to end delay to social media abuse crackdown after Amess killing

No 10 ‘closely monitoring’ reports of China testing nuclear-capable hypersonic missile

17:19 , Conrad Duncan

Downing Street has said it is “closely monitoring” reports that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile earlier this year following claims made this weekend.

A report by the Financial Times said that the test had missed by about “two dozen miles” but it showed Beijing had made far greater progress on developing hypersonic weapons than US intelligence had previously thought.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and as ever are clear that all states with nuclear capability must act responsibly within the international system,” Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said.

“We have seen what has been reported. We will keep a close watch on this development but it is important that those with these capabilities behave responsibly.”

When asked if the UK accepted Beijing's explanation that it was a spacecraft, not a weapons system, that was tested, they added: “At this stage I am not able to pass judgment on that without further information.”

Southend ‘in shock’ over Sir David Amess’s death, MP says

17:40 , Conrad Duncan

The MP representing a constituency neighbouring Sir David Amess’s Southend seat has said that local people are “in shock” over his death, as he thanked Boris Johnson for announcing that the area will move to city status.

Conservative MP James Duddridge, who represents Rochford and Southend East, said the decision to make Southend a city “means a lot to everybody” in the area.

“The impact of David's death has been profound on the city. Southend are in shock. And I am in shock,” Mr Duddridge said.

“I know this is going to be a long process. We don't want to be the city where the MP was murdered.”

He added that he would like to see the new city known for its pier, airport and football team.

 (PA)
(PA)

17:55 , Conrad Duncan

MPs are now attending St Margaret’s Church in Westminster for a service of remembrance for Sir David Amess:

18:10 , Conrad Duncan

Earlier today, Labour MP Kim Leadbeater - the sister of Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016 - also paid tribute to Sir David Amess in the Commons.

“It's been a traumatic few days for many people, none more so than David's family and friends, and it's them who remain at the forefront of my mind this afternoon,” Ms Leadbeater said, noting that she did not know Sir David personally.

“But sadly, I know from my own all-too-similar experience, that in reality there is nothing anyone can say to make things alright for them.

“But nor is it any use to stay silent.”

You can find her speech in full below:

Johnson to laud green credentials of firm that runs ‘UK’s largest carbon emitter’

18:21 , Conrad Duncan

The company behind a power plant that is accused of being the UK’s biggest carbon emitter is set to be lauded by Boris Johnson as an example of British “innovation and green technology”, The Independent has learned.

The prime minister will host 200 investors at a summit this week featuring 12 companies that are supporting his 10-point climate plan, including the Drax Group - who run a renewable energy plant in north Yorkshire.

Our climate correspondent, Daisy Dunne, has the exclusive story below:

PM to laud green credentials of firm behind ‘UK’s largest CO2 emitter’

Johnson maintains strong lead over Starmer for best PM, poll finds

18:39 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has maintained a strong lead over Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer on the question of who would make the best prime minister, according to a new poll.

Research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that when presented with the two options, 43 per cent of respondents thought Mr Johnson would be the better PM, while 32 per cent thought Sir Keir would do a better job in the role.

However, in terms of general voting intentions, the research showed that the Conservatives’ lead had decreased slightly to just 3 per cent over Labour, down by 1 per cent from last week’s poll.

You can find the full results below:

Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to MP’s ‘robust fairness of spirit’

18:55 , Conrad Duncan

The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid tribute to Sir David Amess as a “friend of his constituents” who had a “robust fairness of spirit and charity of heart”.

Speaking at a service attended by about 800 of Sir David's colleagues at St Margaret's in Westminster Abbey, Justin Welby said: “In this great tragedy, there is a unanimous conviction amongst all who knew him that Sir David was of the best.

“Eloquent contributions in both the House of Commons and House of Lords have spoken of his character, a friend to his constituents and to his constituency; a wholehearted supporter of causes from city status for Southend to great causes for the future of our nation around Brexit, and all with a robust fairness of spirit and charity of heart that won the admiration and affection of all sides, regardless of whether they agreed with him politically or not.”

He added: “It was a charity of heart that came from his deep Catholic Christian faith, that was mentioned by so many.

“He was of the best, and his name will be remembered with Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Anthony Berry, Ian Gow and Jo Cox, those MPs murdered since 1945, and others - like Andrew Pennington - who have died in the course of public service.”

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

19:07 , Conrad Duncan

You can find more images below from the service in Westminster this evening for Sir David Amess:

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
 (PA)
(PA)

19:21 , Conrad Duncan

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has shared a brief statement on today’s tributes to Sir David Amess, which he described as a “powerful testimony” to the values that the MP held.

“A sad, albeit moving day, where we showed that we have more in common than that which divides us,” Sir Keir wrote on Twitter.

ICYMI: MPs reveal death threats and frustration at police inaction

19:37 , Conrad Duncan

MPs have revealed their growing frustration with police inaction over death threats they have received, following the murder of Sir David Amess.

Former Labour MP Paula Sherriff said on Sunday that police officers “laughed” at her when she reported a death threat, while Labour backbencher Chris Bryant said today that a man had been arrested over a threat on his life.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Police ‘laughed’ at death threat, says former Labour MP

19:52 , Conrad Duncan

In less important news today, UKIP has announced that its new leader will be disgraced former Tory MP Neil Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton’s political career collapsed in the 1990s when he was linked to the “cash-for-questions” scandal and he joined UKIP in 2002 after the Conservative Party sought to publicly distance themselves from him.

The former MP had been serving as UKIP’s interim leader since September 2020, when he replaced Freddy Vachha.

19:57 , Conrad Duncan

That’s all from The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics for today - we’ll be back with more updates tomorrow.

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