Prime Minister to lead tributes to murdered MP as family urge ‘set aside hatred’

Conservative MP Sir David was meeting constituents in Leigh-on-Sea when he was attacked on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries flowers
Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries flowers

The Prime Minister is set to lead tributes to Sir David Amess in the House of Commons on Monday after his family urged people to be tolerant and “set aside hatred” in his memory.

For at least two hours, politicians will be able to share their memories of the Conservative MP for Southend West after a morning of prayers and a minute’s silence at 2.30pm.

The Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle will make a statement before Boris Johnson moves a motion for an adjournment, which will enable parliamentarians to open the tributes session, lasting until 5.30pm.

On Sunday evening, his family described how their “hearts are shattered” after he was attacked while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday.

Sir David Amess death
People light candles during a vigil at St Michael & All Angels church in Leigh-on-Sea. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

In a statement published through the Metropolitan Police, his wife, four daughters and son said: “Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace.

“So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.

“As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.”

A 25-year-old man, understood by the PA news agency to be Ali Harbi Ali, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of Sir David’s murder and remains in police custody.

He has been detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and detectives are expected to continue to question him until Friday after a warrant of further detention was granted.

The Sunday Times said the suspected killer’s father, Harbi Ali Kullane, who the newspaper described as a former adviser to the prime minister of Somalia, had confirmed his British-born son had been arrested.

Sir David Amess death
Sir David Amess. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A friend of Mr Kullane’s, Harbi Farah, told the Sun: “I have known his dad Harbi for more than ten years. He’s a good man and this will be very upsetting for him.

“He’s a well-respected member of the Somali community in Britain and also in Somalia.

“He hasn’t been well for the last couple of years. He’s had surgery and is shielding.

“I never met Ali but I heard from other family members he was studying medicine.”

As part of the counter-terrorism investigation, Sir David’s links to the Gulf state of Qatar are being examined by police as part of a drive to analyse all avenues over why he was targeted, according to the Times newspaper.

The paper reported that it is one of several lines of inquiry being investigated, quoting Whitehall sources as saying a “clear reason on why he was targeted has not been established.”

Sir David was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Qatar Group, with his most recent visit to the nation being last week, according to images published on the group’s Twitter page.

The MP referenced the visit in one of his last tweets, writing: “As Chairman of @QatarAPPG, I was very pleased to meet the Emir during our recent delegation to Doha.”

The State of Qatar published a statement on Sunday condemning the attack, stating it considered his stabbing “a horrific crime and a clear violation of human rights.”

Other reports meanwhile suggested the attack was random.

The Telegraph said the politician was not “specifically targeted” but is believed to have been chosen as part of a plot to murder “any MP.”

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment.

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