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World News

Former MP and Christian not a fan of Zoom surgeries for MPs as tributes are held for Sir David Amess

by Kelly Valencia

A Christian former MP has told Premier he does not think moving face to face meetings with constituents to Zoom is the solution to stop violence and abuse to MPs in the UK. 

It comes as the death of Sir David Amess, who was fatally stabbed while holding an in person meeting with his constituents on Friday, has raised questions about the safety of Members of Parliament. 

Many politicians have shared the threats and abuse they get with the deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, saying online hate is "out of control". 

Speaking to Premier, former Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth said that doing surgeries online would stop MPs from being accessible to constituents. 

"If you stand for public office in this country, you want to be, by definition, in touch with people, you want to be accessible. And looking at outside power, there's no way that surgeries held by Members of Parliament can be policed by armed guards, not only would it be impractical, but there also aren't enough police in the country to do that.

"Being accessible to your constituents is a fundamental part of what you do...over 750 years, that is what Members of Parliament want to do, therefore, putting up barriers is anathema. So, I disagree with my very good friend, Tobias Elwood, who's the chairman of the Defence Select Committee, his idea that surgeries should be held by Zoom? I do not think that is the answer. I don't frankly know what the answer is." 

Speaking during tributes to Sr David Amess on Monday, House of Common's Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he will make it his priority to make sure concerns about safety are addressed urgently while Home 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the attack was one "on our democracy" and revealed that a review into how police work with MPs to ensure their safety will be announced in the next "few days".

Sir David has been described as a gentle, kind, funny and respected by everyone during his almost four decades in the House of Commons. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced Southend will be given city status in honour of Sir David Amess.

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