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Family of slain MP says to "set aside hatred and work towards togetherness"

Police call Amess' murder a terrorist attack
Police call Amess' murder a terrorist attack 01:53

The family of a British lawmaker who was stabbed to death issued a statement on Sunday saying the "only way forward" is to "set aside hatred and work towards togetherness."

"As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred," the family of David Amess said. "Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man."

Amess, a conservative member of Parliament (MP) first elected in 1983, was stabbed to death on Friday at a constituent meeting in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, about 40 miles north of London. He was married and had four daughters and a son.

Metropolitan Police on Saturday formally declared the incident as terrorism, while Home Secretary Priti Patel told BBC News that she and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle were working on "practical" measures to protect MPs.

A candle and a portrait of British MP David Amess are seen at the church of St Michael's and all Angels, in Leigh-on-Sea
A candle and a portrait of British MP David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents, are seen at the church of St Michael's and all Angels, in Leigh-on-Sea, Britain, October 17, 2021. CHRIS RADBURN / REUTERS

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr, Patel said it "wasn't just about MPs," adding that children had been "subject to the most appalling hate and abuse online." She said the government's Online Harms Bill offered an opportunity for all politicians to come together to close "the corrosive space online where we see just dreadful behavior."

Police have not formally named the suspect, but a former Somali political aide told the Sunday Times that his British-born son is being held in connection to Amess' death.

Police said that they are holding the suspect under the Terrorism Act. Under that law, police have until Friday to question the suspect.  

Amess is the second MP to be killed in recent years. Labour MP Jo Cox was stabbed to death to June 2016 on the eve of the Brexit vote. 

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