Updated Oct 21, 2021 - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside David Amess' office in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15.

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

  • The man was arrested hours after Amess was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea. A knife was recovered at the scene, police said.
  • "It is believed that he acted alone, and we are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time," the Met said in a statement. "However, enquiries into the circumstances continue."
  • The Met's Counter Terrorism Command is working with the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit and Essex Police to determine what happened.

A senior British police officer said the charge against Ali was "a significant milestone in the case," adding that while it is important for this case to get attention, "it is vitally important that everyone exercises restraint when commenting on it publicly, to ensure future court proceedings are not prejudiced in any way."

Amess, 69, is the second British MP to be murdered in recent memory.

  • Labor MP Jo Cox was killed when a right-wing extremist shot and stabbed her outside a meeting with constituents in 2016, according to the New York Times.
  • Members of parliament regularly hold meetings, or "surgeries," with constituents, though these can leave lawmakers vulnerable to security breaches, according to the Times.
  • Amess, who first entered Parliament in 1983, was a vocal supporter of Brexit. He also pushed for animal welfare legislation, including a ban on fox hunting.

What they're saying: "Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself. There is no excuse, no justification. It is as cowardly as it gets," Brendan Cox, Jo Cox's husband, said in a tweet after Amess' death.

  • “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess. He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children,” Carrie Johnson, the wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said in a tweet.

What to watch: British police said Ali is in custody and will appear in court later Thursday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the information on the charge brought against the suspect.

Go deeper