A Conservative MP was stabbed to death during his surgery.
Sir David Amess, who was part of a campaign for a statue of Lady Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs of Dover, was attacked at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-On-Sea.
Essex Police have since confirmed that a man has been arrested and that they are not looking for anyone else.
The father of five, Sir David, was being treated at the scene, but it was later confirmed that he died of his injuries. He was 69 years old.
Kent MPs reacted to his death this afternoon.
Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch (Con) said she was “heartbroken”.
“I could write oars about how Sir David was one of the nicest, most compassionate and valued colleagues in Parliament,” she said. “But I can’t. I feel sick. I am lost.
“Rest in peace. A little light went out in Parliament today. You will be missed.”
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins (Con) tweeted to share his shock at the news and said Sir David was “such a good man and a devoted public servant”.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark (Con) said he was “devastated” by the news.
He tweeted: “He was the warmest, most encouraging and generous-minded colleague, and an absolutely tireless champion of his constituents in Southend. RIP.”
Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke (Con) described Sir David as a “devoted and wonderful man”.
Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield (Lab) said she was “shocked and terribly sad” to learn of the death.
“David was a lovely man who always took the time to be kind and supportive, he wrote me several letters by hand after I gave speeches in the House of Commons.
“David was well respected throughout the house, funny with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
“We served together on the APPG against the anti-Semitism he cared about deeply. He will be sorely missed in Westminster.”
Tom Tugendhat (Con), MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said “we have all lost so much”.
“David died as he lived – in the service of others, of his community and of our country,” he tweeted. “Please remember his family and all his friends.”
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson (Con) said he was shocked and saddened to hear the news.
He said: “David was a friend of mine. I had a lot of respect for him.
“I am desperately sorry for the tragic death of David as I was for the death of Jo Cox.
“As members of Parliament and politicians, we try to do what we can to help others.
“Why should we fear for our lives because we try to represent our communities to the best of our ability? I find that very tragic.”
Ashford MP Damian Green (Con) said it was “another heartbreaking and terrible day for politics”.
“David Amess was the nicest man and the most diligent MP,” he added.
Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti (Con) said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack.
“David was one of the nicest people in Parliament and was deeply committed to his faith,” he tweeted.
“It was an honor to sign his nomination papers to be Vice President. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately said she was “shocked, horrified and very, very sad” by the death – describing him as a “good and kind man”.
Meanwhile, political parties suspended their campaign this weekend for the Gorrell by-election in Whitstable.
Members of local authorities in Kent also paid tribute to the Member of Parliament for Southend West.
Cllr Brendan Chilton, leader of the Labor Group at Ashford Borough Council, said: “I have shared a platform with Sir David Amess a few times during the Brexit debates.
“He was a decent, kind, funny man whose recent book is a good read.
“It is awful to hear that he was assassinated while doing his job as an MP. Condolences and prayers to his family, friends and constituents.”
Medway Labor leader Vince Maple tweeted: “My thoughts are with the family, friends, colleagues and constituents of Sir David.
“Democracy is a precious thing, violence is not part of it – an attack on an elected official is an attack on all elected officials.”
Canterbury City Council chief Ben Fitter-Harding (Con) said he and his colleagues were “saddened and very disturbed” by Sir David’s death.
“Losing someone dedicated to serving their electorate and their country to such a senseless act of violence is hard to understand,” he said. “Our condolences and our deepest condolences go out to his family.
Earlier this year, Sir David launched a campaign for a permanent memorial to Dame Vera Lynn, famous for her song (There’ll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover.
The memorial will be located on the iconic cliffs.
Sir David previously said: “A memorial to this wonderful lady is long overdue and what better place to have it than on the White Cliffs of Dover.
“Dame Vera has been an inspiration to every generation and her children’s charity will ensure that her legacy lives on.
“I look forward to unveiling the memorial, which will be created by renowned sculptor Paul Day, along with the family of Dame Vera.”
Cllr James Jamieson, President of the Local Government Association, described Sir David as a “dedicated Member of Parliament who worked tirelessly for his constituents and on behalf of everyone in Parliament”.
“Everyone in public life should be able to go about their daily business without fear of being attacked,” he said. “Losing your life under such dire circumstances is tragic.”
Essex Police released a statement and confirmed that a man was arrested on suspicion of murder after the knife attack in Leigh-on-Sea.
“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12:05 pm today,” he said.
“We went there and found an injured man. He was treated by emergency services but unfortunately died at the scene.
“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after police arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered. He is currently in police custody.
“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident. We would like to thank the public who alerted us so quickly to the incident.”
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