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Christian MP joins calls for the Met Police to be held to account following London vigil for Sarah Everard

by Chantalle Edmunds

The Metropolitan Police has been criticised by MPs from all main political parties over its handling of a gathering for Sarah Everard.

Crowds gathered in South London on Saturday evening, despite an official event being cancelled because of coronavirus rules. A photo of officers pinning down one woman has been shared on social media and four arrests were made.

Christian MP and Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, Marsha de Cordova, took to Twitter to call for the Metropolitan Police to be held accountable and called the scenes "traumatic and disturbing."

"Women should have been able to come together peacefully this evening to mourn the death of Sarah Everard. Instead we are seeing traumatic and disturbing scenes by the @metpoliceuk at #claphamcommon. They must be held to account." she wrote. 

The Metropolitan force said "enforcement was necessary" at the vigil in south London because people were breaking coronavirus rules. Scotland Yard added police were "placed in a position where enforcement was necessary."

The Met's commissioner has been asked by the Home Secretary to provide a full report.  

Private vigils were also held at homes across the country in solidarity and memory of the 33-year-old who's body was found in Kent after she went missing early this month.

The Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek posted a photo of a solitary candle on Twitter with the words: "Longing for God's kingdom to come 'on earth as in heaven.'"

The Bishop of London also posted a picture of a lighted candle, joining many on social media in remembering Sarah at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

Bekah Legg Director of Restored, a Christian charity that works alongside churches to end violence against women, praised Labour MP Jess Phillips for speaking up for women following the vigil. Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence, has called for better funding and resources for education to prevent violence against women. 

Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, who is accused of murdering Ms Everard, was remanded in custody after his first court appearance where it emerged her body was found inside a large builder's bag.

Couzens, 48, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard, who went missing while walking home from a friend's flat in south London on March 3.

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