Sutton Coldfield MP's vow as he pays warm tribute to Sir David Amess

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell does not want his interaction with his constituents to have to change after the horrific murder of Sir David Amess.

Andrew Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell

Mr Mitchell paid tribute to his long-standing friend and colleague Sir David, who was murdered last week while attending a surgery in his Southend West constituency, describing him as ‘an incredibly kind and thoughtful colleague’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered an immediate review of MPs’ security in the wake of the killing, which came five years after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

But Mr Mitchell said: “When Jo was murdered, I reviewed the security in my office in Sutton Coldfield and updated the arrangements for the safety of staff and colleagues based on expert security advice.

"I am satisfied those changes were proportionate and remain the right approach for my office in the Royal Town.

“I have been the MP for Sutton Coldfield for over 20 years and as I walk through the town each week people frequently recognise me and stop me for a chat, often outlining their views for and against the Government or their concerns about particular issues and events.

"That is the very essence of representative democracy and I believe that this must not change.

“It is the greatest honour to represent those who send us to the House of Commons to serve their interests and I have no intention of changing the way I try to look after the good people of Sutton Coldfield and the proximity and openness that goes with that.”

Paying tribute to Sir David, Mr Mitchell added: “Arriving at the House of Commons four years after him, in 1987, I was immediately struck by the trouble he took to ensure that new colleagues felt welcome.

“For the last eight years, he and I had neighbouring offices in the House of Commons and we regularly spoke on a wide range of issues including animal rights and our love of our dogs, particularly during the annual Westminster Dog of the year competition.

"The description on everyone’s lips of our friend David is that he was kind.

"I first encountered that kindness when I arrived at Westminster four years after him in 1987, nearly 35 years ago.

"He took trouble with new colleagues who followed him and made us feel welcome when he saw us in the tea rooms or the corridors.

"And, for the last 8 years he and I have had neighbouring offices on the third floor of 1 Parliament Street, where each year at Halloween, when anyone walked near his office the sound of a cackling ghoul would ring out along the corridor.

"At other times of the year a life size cut out of Mrs Thatcher would dominate the passageway ensuring we behaved ourselves and at Christmas he would put up a huge blow-up Father Christmas and promote a festive atmosphere for all our staff that work so hard in 1 Parliament street.

"We both competed in the Westminster dog of the year competition or to be more accurate his beloved pugs and my springer spaniel did.

"There were lots of issues where David and I did not necessarily agree but it never for a moment got in the way of our friendship.

"Like everyone else I am thinking of his wife Julia and his five children of whom he was so proud and I mourn the loss of a friend, a Father, a Husband and great servant of Parliament and of those he represented in this place."

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