Death threats and abuse is almost part of daily life, says Northampton MP Andrew Lewer in wake of Sir David Amess killing

"MPs face death threats and other lesser but often frightening messages and confrontations .. but I don't talk about them much so it doesn't upset my family"

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:56 am

A Northampton MP admits death threats and online abuse have become almost part of daily life.

Andrew Lewer was among the MPs who attended a service on Monday (October 18) in memory of Sir David Amess.

The 69-year-old died after being stabbed during a surgery in his Southend West constituency on Friday.

Andrew Lewer was among the MPs who attended Monday's service following the death of colleague Sir David Amess

Mr Lewer admits he does not talk about frightening messages he receives for fear of upsetting his family. But many have been passed on to the police to investigate.

The Conservative, who has represented Northampton South since 2017, admitted: "I have never had a friend murdered before. It is proving to be difficult to take in.

"As the reports of the attack upon Sir David Amess MP started to arrive on Friday all I could do is hope and pray that one of the kindest and gentlest of colleagues would survive.

"It was not to be. Thus, the weekend was full of staring at the ceiling moments and what I suppose you could call processing.

Andrew Lewer has been Northampton South MP since 2017

"Monday and the return to Westminster truly brought it in to my heart: Walking down the corridor in Parliament where I last spoke to him just a few weeks ago. Listening to tributes in the Commons.

"Attending the service for MPs and Peers at St Margaret’s Church, across the road from Parliament and next door to its big brother, Westminster Abbey. The service brought comfort, David was a Christian and so am I and the Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury was entirely fitting."

Northamptonshire's MPs paid tribute to their "brilliant, energetic" friend after Sir David was killed in a knife attack which police believe was terror-related.

Some MPs have called for open surgeries to be scrapped in the wake of the murder, which followed on from the death of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Home secretary Priti Patel has said she does not want to see an end to face-to-face meetings with MPs but is reviewing safety measures.

In his weekly Chronicle & Echo newspaper column, Mr Lewer added: "There will be a great deal of outward defiance from my MP colleagues in the face of this dreadful murder, following on from the murder of Jo Cox and other attempted murders, death threats and other lesser but often frightening messages and confrontations that MPs face.

"However, there will also be quieter moments, where family and friends express their concerns and worries.

"Previously I have not talked about it much, because I do not want to upset my family, but I get just as much of this stuff as my colleagues do and have had to call the police in to look at threats and abuse on quite a number of occasions now.

"I might have felt the need to add that this is not just people being rude or me being thin-skinned, but I think recent events have made that unnecessary.

"As some commentators have already pointed out, the issues of the coarsening of public discourse and that of the threat from ‘lone wolf’ attackers are different.

"Both profoundly concerning, but different.

"Unpacking what might be solutions to either or both is going to take more time and space than I at present have."