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Priti vows not to be cowed amid calls for Zoom-only meetings after MP murder

PRITI Patel says she won’t be “cowed” amid calls for all meetings between politicians and constituents to take place over Zoom in the wake of Sir David Amess’ murder.

Tobias Ellwood said all in-person contact with voters should be temporarily suspended after horror exploded in an Essex church yesterday.

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Priti Patel said MPs must not be ‘cowed’ by terrorism – hours after laying flowers in tribute to murdered backbencher Sir David AmessCredit: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street
Serving MP Tobias Ellwood had said all face-to-face meetings between politicians and voters should be suspended in the wake of Sir David's death

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Serving MP Tobias Ellwood had said all face-to-face meetings between politicians and voters should be suspended in the wake of Sir David’s deathCredit: The Sun
The dad-of-five was slain in an Essex church yesterday

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The dad-of-five was slain in an Essex church yesterdayCredit: pixel8000

But the Home Secretary said politicians must not bow to terror.

She told reporters today: “We cannot be cowed by any individual or any motivation to stop us from functioning.”

Speaking after she joined Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer at the scene of Sir David’s murder to lay flowers, she said: “We are open to surgeries, doing our job.

“We will continue to do that.”

She said security measures will be put in place to allow MP’s to safely meet voters.

“There are measures under way right now,” she said.

Police have also announced they’ll contact all MPs regarding their security arrangements following the tragedy.

Others who knew Sir David, a married father-of-five, said he “hated” speaking online – and always wanted “face-to-face meetings”.

Mr Ellwood, a former Conservative minister who serves Bournemouth East, had argued meetings should be paused pending the review.

The ex Green Jacket, who gave murdered police officer Keith Palmer CPR during the Westminster terror attack, said: “MP engagement with the public is a vital part of our work.

“But [it’s] understandable [there’s] huge anxiety amongst MPs now.

Until the Home Secretary’s review of MP security is complete, I would recommend a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings.”

However, former Cabinet minister David Davis said such a move would be a “terrible reflection of what David stood for”.

He told Sky News: “I don’t think we should do that. I’m sorry, I disagree with Tobias on that.


The tragedy comes as…


“I don’t think David would (agree) either.

“Sure, we should be cautious, maybe we should do things to ensure the people who come to see us are bona fide, but I think actually pausing it would be a bad idea.

“It would be a terrible reflection of what David stood for – David himself was the ultimate constituency MP.

“You can see that in the response of people in his constituency.”

Meanwhile, Ann Widdicombe said Sir David “hated Zoom”.

“He hated online,” she said.

“He wanted face to face meetings with his constituents and, even if their problem was the 30th similar case he’d heard that day, he’d attack it relentlessly.”

Cops confirmed that every UK MP will be contacted by their local force under Operation Bridger, which was established in 2016.

Politicians will be asked about their security arrangements.

‘HE HATED ZOOM’

Sir David was meeting with constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, when he was stabbed up to 17 times, according to reports.

25-year-old British national of Somali origin was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The suspect is being quizzed by counter terror cops today. He is feared to have been inspired by Islamic extremism.

It’s understood he lived in Sir David’s Southend West constituency after his family came to the UK from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s.

He reportedly booked a slot at the surgery to speak with the MP.

Police aren’t looking for anyone else in connection with their investigation.

Tobias Ellwood, a former Green Jacket, said he understands that politicians are deeply anxious to resume meetings with the public

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Tobias Ellwood, a former Green Jacket, said he understands that politicians are deeply anxious to resume meetings with the publicCredit: Rex Features
However, others said Sir David, pictured with his wife and three of their five children, believed in public engagement - and 'hated' Zoom

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However, others said Sir David, pictured with his wife and three of their five children, believed in public engagement – and ‘hated’ ZoomCredit: Rex
Sir David Amess: Boris Johnson joins Priti Patel and Keir Starmer to lay flowers in tribute to murdered MP

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