DUMFRIESSHIRE MP David Mundell has said he is “determined” to continue holding regular in-person surgeries following the brutal murder of Sir David Amess last week.
Fellow Conservative MP Mr Amess was meeting his constituents in Essex on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed several times by a man in what is being described by police as terrorism.
Mr Mundell – who revealed he exchanged emails with Mr Amess on Friday morning just hours before the terror attack – learned of the tragic news as he carried out his own constituency engagements.
He said: “I just felt numb hearing the news about Sir David Amess. It was a truly appalling, senseless and barbaric act of violence which has taken away a man who was kind, gentle, considerate to others but with a wicked sense of humour.
“Sir David was, of course, a long-standing parliamentarian with 38 years as an MP and dedicated to public service and his constituents as we have seen from the effusive tributes paid to him.
“I had an exchange of messages with Sir David on Friday morning and I still find what has happened absolutely unbelievable. Just truly, truly awful. My heart goes out to his family, his staff and friends.
“For me what has made these events even worse is that they took place at his constituency surgery, which to me is one of the most important duties for MPs.”
Mr Mundell stressed he is committed to keep meeting his own constituents face-to-face, however added surgeries might change to appointment only rather than drop-ins.
He continued: “I believe MPs must be accessible to their constituents and be able to have face-to-face discussions.
“It would undermine our democracy if constituents cannot see their MPs. That’s what our democracy is founded on. It has to be on a basis that MPs and their staff can feel as safe as possible.”
The MP had previously stepped-up security at his constituency office in Moffat following a death threat in 2016.
Furthermore, days before last week’s vicious attack, the pair were together on an all-party parliamentary visit to Qatar. Led by Sir David, it sought to find out about the impact of the Afghan refugee crisis on the country and how preparations for the 2022 World Cup are going.
“He was not only great company as head of that delegation but also had a gentle touch dealing with everyone the same, whether they were rulers, highest officials, politicians or child refugees who did not speak English,” Mr Mundell said.