Sir David Amess MP

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 26th October 2021.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Presiding Officer, I join you in sending my condolences to the family, friends, constituents and colleagues of Sir David Amess. Since his death, we have heard many moving tributes to Sir David from across the political spectrum. Together, they speak to what has been lost: a good and decent man and a thoughtful and dedicated MP, who served his constituents faithfully for almost four decades.

The fact that Sir David was killed while serving his constituents adds an extra dimension to a crime that would have been unspeakable in any circumstances. Because of that, it is a tragedy that all of us who are in elected office have been shaken by—as, indeed, we were by the dreadful murder of Jo Cox MP. No parliamentarian or councillor, nor anyone who works with us, should ever face the threat of violence as we represent our constituents. There are serious issues to be confronted about the security of elected politicians and our staff; I know that the corporate body is considering those, in consultation with parties, which is of vital importance.

Nevertheless, I suspect that we are united across the chamber in our determination not to let our democracy be undermined by those who commit heinous crimes or acts of terror. In the democracy that we all cherish, politicians must be accessible. For all of us, meeting our constituents face to face is not just a duty; it is a privilege and is often one of the real joys of the work that we do. That has come across vividly in the many tributes to Sir David.

His death, devastating though it is for all the people who loved him—and, indeed, for our society as a whole—must not diminish our efforts to represent our constituents. Instead, his life and his example should inspire us, as we rededicate ourselves to the idea that politics and public service can be a force for good. It should remind us that parliamentarians here, across the United Kingdom and beyond often have more that unites than we have that divides us. All of us are passionate about serving the people whom we represent. All of us want to create a better society. If we can remember and summon that sense of common purpose more often, even in the heat of a debating chamber, it will improve politics in Scotland and elsewhere and would, I think, be a fitting further legacy of Sir David’s distinguished life and career.