I share the view of so many that my murdered colleague Sir David Amess was a thoroughly decent man who cared deeply for others and was devoted to his constituency.
I couldn’t pay tribute to him, in the House of Commons, because as is often the case on these occasions, many more wanted to contribute than time allowed. No one should go to work with their loved ones wondering if they’ll come home again.
There are far too many attacks on shopworkers, taxi drivers, emergency workers, nurses, doctors, police officers, schoolteachers and a host of other people just trying to do their job.
The threat of radicalisation and extremists adds to the risks faced by politicians but the truth is we are all living in an age where the response to views that are not shared is too often anger and contempt, accompanied by abuse, threats and attacks. It’s one of the ugliest features of this country, today.
David Amess was a man of great faith and strong convictions. We often disagreed but I never saw him try to force his views on anyone else. All I ever witnessed was steely determination, coupled with kindness and good humour.
He was a politician who set out to make a difference. He really cared about the issues he campaigned on and believed in working with people, from all parties, to achieve change. I worked with him on animal welfare issues, democracy in Iran and some health campaigns.
Following his tragic killing, I hope those in politics and people more generally will think about what is happening to our communities. We should learn from him. We need more tolerance and generosity and less judging and condemning.
We need to spend more time problem solving and searching for solutions which usually can only be achieved by respect and sensible compromise.
David Amess was a committed Conservative, I am diehard Labour but it was a joy to work with him.
He should be remembered for his thoughtfulness, humour and decency. He was the epitome of a good constituency MP. I’m the better for having known him.