‘Hateful messages and abuse all too common’

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 21st October 2021 2:19 pm
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Left, David Amess MP, who died last Friday. Top left, Ceredigion MS Elin Jones and bottom right, Montgomeryshire MS Russell George

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MID Wales politicians have spoken of their worries of online hatred following the killing of MP Sir David Amess.

The Conservative MP for Southend West, 69, died after he was stabbed during a constituency surgery meeting on 15 October, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

While his death has caused concern, local politicians have reaffirmed they won’t let it affect their accessibility for constituents.

Montgomeryshire MS Russell George, who held an advice surgery with MP Craig Williams last weekend, expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Sir David, adding: “We held an advice surgery on Saturday and I was grateful that Dyfed-Powys Police attended. It was reassuring to have their presence, but we are not expecting that to be the norm.

“I did give some consideration to whether the surgery should continue, but I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s an important part of my job. I can’t do my job without being accessible to members of the general public.

“In my 10 years as a member of the Senedd I have never had a death threat. Generally people in mid Wales are friendly people, when I have face to face surgeries people are generally very polite even if they have different views.

“I tend to find social media is more toxic, rather than face to face meetings.”

Ceredigion MS Elin Jones said: “The murder of David Amess MP is terrible and chilling. It seems he has been killed for doing his job and that scares all of us as elected members.

“I agree with his family when they said that we need less hate in society and we need to be more tolerant of others who are different or have different views to our own.

“Social media drives and fans so much of this hate and it is time for proper regulation of all social media. I will personally think through my own security again and my staff’s security.

“But I won’t be letting that make me any less accessible to people in Ceredigion.”

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake said engaging, face to face, with the people of Ceredigion is “integral” to his job: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless death of Sir David Amess MP, and a outraged by the horrific act of violence against a dedicated MP as he was serving his constituents.

“It has sadly become all too common for MPs and other elected representatives to receive hateful messages and abuse, and occasional threats are also made.

“The House of Commons authorities will be conducting a review of the security arrangements of all MPs, but I am grateful for the support and assistance that I have always received from officers of Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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