I want to thank people across York for their kind words and expressions of deepest sympathy for the family of Sir David Amess. He was dedicated to his constituency and served his, what he longed to be, city, of Southend, with distinction. He was also very committed to his family and so proud to speak of both in Parliament. I too have many personal memories of David, which I will forever cherish. At this time of condolence, it is right that our focus is on those closest to him, his family, friends and constituents and that we hold them in our thoughts and prayers as their lives have been forever changed by the tragic events on Friday.
I also want to pay tribute to my team of staff who support me supporting you. Every MP knows that our jobs would be impossible without their incredible dedication to serve and advance our society. It is our staff who are often in the frontline, and now is a difficult time for them too.
Everyday people across our country go to work and face different forms of risk. Tragically, some never come home. I think of our ambulance crew or police who are there to support our communities, often walking into places of danger. While the spotlight right now is being placed on MPs, we must consider all in public services and how they too must be able to work safely and without fear. This takes me to the wider issues underlying personal safety.
While it is right that MPs review how we can continue to be fully immersed in the communities we love and live in, it is also essential that all public servants are safe. I know how Councillors are completely embedded in their wards, as they live out their lives with the residents around them, how teachers support children and parents, how ambulance and A&E staff, GPs and community nurses are at the interface between their communities and their work.
I don’t want the current debate to focus on MPs alone or those who serve in politics in some capacity, but on all that face risk. We all need to be safe. Other people in our communities do to, like transport staff or shop workers. Therefore, there must be a wider conversation. However, we need to understand that in communities there are people who are very vulnerable, whether through exploitation, exposure to harmful doctrines or movements or are at risk to themselves or others. We have to ask serious questions as to why such people are not receiving the support and interventions that are needed to keep them and others safe. Without going to the causation of the issue, then risk will always reside.
I trust that over the coming weeks, we will be able to share our concerns, and take forward a fresh agenda.
As Workers’ Memorial Day’s motto says, ‘Remember the dead, fight for the living’. This is our task.