Neil Coyle will only see people in person if they book in advance, in a bid to protect himself and staff after MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death on Friday (October 15).
The Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP has received several death threats and carries an alarm with him at all times on police advice. Along with staff, he has been attacked and spat on in his office on Jamaica Road and on one occasion a man had to be wrestled to the ground during a weekly advice surgery. The office’s windows have been smashed, and he has been targeted at both work and his home address – including with death threats.
Labour MP Coyle told the News on Monday (October 18) that he won’t stop holding weekly face-to-face surgeries but that walk-ins will no longer be accepted. Anyone who wants to book an appointment will also need to provide a valid address, so that they can be vetted before the booking is accepted. “It’s for the safety of myself and my staff,” he said.
As ordered by Home Secretary Priti Patel, like all MPs Coyle has also had another risk assessment carried out by the police in the wake of the killing of Sir David.
Sir David, who had been a Conservative MP since 1983 and represented the Southend West constituency in Essex, was stabbed multiple times during his regular meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
Sir David, 69, who was married with four daughters and a son, is the second MP to be killed in recent years following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016. A 25-year-old man named as Ali Harbi Ali, is currently being detained under the Terrorism Act.
Coyle said on Friday: “Deeply saddened & shocked by the awful news today. My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Sir David Amess. No MP or their family or team should fear being attacked when simply trying to help people… David was one of the most pleasant amongst us.”