Attack on our democracy demands questions, not conclusions – Alexander Brown

For the second time in five years, an MP has been killed while doing their job.

Floral tributes laid in memory of David Amess MP
Floral tributes laid in memory of David Amess MP

Sir David Amess died during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday afternoon.

The 69-year-old was by any measurement a dedicated public servant and good man, and his death comes after the Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in 2016, again on her way to a constituency surgery.

People are scared, they are angry, and asking quite rightfully how something so terrible could happen again.

Unfortunately however, some are also drawing their own conclusions on the attack, or using it to reaffirm views they already hold.

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We have already seen attempts to pin the blame on the language of MPs, with Angela Rayner once again facing criticism and demands to apologise for calling Tories “scum”.

In the circumstances, it is of course her language that is being scrutinised, not that of the Prime Minister who has previously dismissed MPs' complaints over dangerous language as “humbug”.

Everyone involved in politics could be more civil, but those debates around Mr Johnson’s language or Ms Rayner’s have been had.

Pointing the finger now without any knowledge of the attack is simply point scoring, dredging up old criticisms to look for meaning from an attack right now we are in no position to better understand.

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Then there is the background of the suspect, a 25-year-old man named as Ali Harbi Ali, who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.

There are also questions over his reported previous referral to the counter-terrorist Prevent scheme. But the truth is while the police investigate until more facts emerge we do not know. For now the only opinion you need is this is a horrific attack, and we must do whatever we can to keep our politicians and public safe.

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