VIOLENCE AND HATRED CANNOT PREVAIL

Photo: MPs observing a minute’s silence following the death of Sir David Amess MP

The House of Commons returns this week under a dark cloud following the shocking fatal attack on my parliamentary colleague David Amess MP.

5 years on from the brutal murder of Jo Cox MP, the Conservative MP David Amess was also killed tragically whilst carrying out their elected duties at a constituent advice surgery. 

Sir David Amess worked tirelessly for his constituency of Southend, and as an MP for 38 years he was hugely respected across the Chamber. 

I’m grateful to my own constituents from Dumbarton and across West Dunbartonshire who have been in touch to pass on their condolences since hearing the news of David’s death on Friday. Our thoughts are with David’s family, his staff and loved ones at this unimaginably difficult time. 

Over the past few days there has been much discussion about whether it is becoming too dangerous for MPs and their staff to continue meeting with members of the public in person. Since first being elected in 2015, I have strived to be the most accessible MP that West Dunbartonshire has ever had. I hold regular surgeries every week because I believe it is a vital part of my job to be open and accessible to the people I have been elected to represent. 

Given the current challenges facing our communities, it seems to me that it’s more important than ever that constituents who need help are able to meet with their elected representatives in person. I will take time though to consider the advice of Police Scotland – who have been in touch with me following the horrific events of last week – about ensuring my surgeries are as safe and secure as possible for all those in attendance. 

I will also continue to be contactable by phone, email and video call as I have been for local residents throughout the pandemic. 

As a Member of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, we are all trying to do our best for the constituents we have been elected to represent. On Friday, David Amess MP went to work as he had done for almost four decades with the goal of helping his constituents – only this time he never came home. 

His murder is a direct attack on our democratic process; a reminder of why hatred and violence cannot be allowed to prevail. 

This week, all parties within the House of Commons will be united in grief as we mourn the loss of another colleague who was privileged to be a public servant. 

And as we move forward, it would serve us well to heed the words of Sir David’s family: “we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and togetherness.”

This article was published in the Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter on 19 October 2021.