A UK official and a chairman of the British-Qatar All-Party Parliamentary Group died in a terrorist attack on Friday ahead of elections.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said he was ‘deeply saddened’ after UK authorities confirmed the death of lawmaker David Amess on Friday.
Amess, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, was stabbed to death at about midday by an attacker while meeting voters from his electoral district in a Methodist Church in London.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sir David Amess MP and chairman of the British-Qatar All-Party Parliamentary Group. We remember with great appreciation his efforts to advance the historic relations between our two nations. Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and the British people,” Sheikh Tamim said in a tweet on Friday.
David Amess brought his customary enthusiasm on a visit to a World Cup Stadium in Doha a few days ago as Chair of the @QatarAPPG Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends pic.twitter.com/LizKgfB52V
— QatarAPPG (@QatarAPPG) October 16, 2021
The 69-year-old member of Parliament, who represented Southend West in Essex, “was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” Essex Police said.
“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”
Counter-terrorism police in the United Kingdom formally declared the fatal stabbing of Amess an act of terrorism.
The arrested suspect is believed to have acted alone, and police said they are “not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time.” However, investigations are ongoing, the statement added.
Meanwhile, authorities are inspecting two addresses in the London area.
The UK’s Counter-Terrorism Command is taking the lead in the ongoing investigation of the murder of the Parliament member.
“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident. But as always, they will keep an open mind,” Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, told reporters earlier.
This horrific incident marks the second murder of a sitting British lawmaker since 2016, after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed in her constituency by an extremist, which raised concerns once again about the safety of UK’s elected officials.
The country’s Royal Family, political, religious, and societal leaders condemned and denounced the attack and paid tribute to Amess.
MPs usually meet with people in their constituencies face-to-face before elections without security in the UK.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said MPs’ engagement with the public was a “vital part of our work,” but now “huge anxiety” among candidates is understandable after the deadly incident.
“Until the Home Secretary’s review of MP security is complete, I would recommend a temporary pause in face to face meetings,” he said.
I am shocked and devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Sir @amessd_southend. He was a great man and well respected in the #UK & #Qatar. My prayers are with his family and loved ones.@QatarAPPG @QatarEmb_London pic.twitter.com/J1QI9wvKoF
— يوسف بن علي الخاطر (@yousefaalkhater) October 15, 2021
Amess was a great friend of many Qataris, including Shura Council member Yousef Al Khater who took to Twitter to express his condolences for his family.
“He was dedicated to his work as an MP and a leader in building ties between the UK and the people of Qatar – a true friend to our country. We send our sincerest condolences to his family at this time,” Qatar’s embassy in London said in a tweet.