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British Lawmaker Killed; Interview With European Union Minister For Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell; Interview With British Parliament Member Tom Tugendhat; Flags Lowered After U.K. Lawmaker Killed. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 15, 2021 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Shock and reaction as a British member of Parliament is stabbed to death while meeting with constituents, the second
murder of a sitting British lawmaker in five years.
TONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There is firstly not a challenge that we are not working on together.
GOLODRYGA: Smoothing relations to tackle the world's pressing issues.
E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell joins me from Washington on what's front and center.
ANDREW YANG (D), FORMER NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Just if you want to make our country more reasonable and functional again, you should join the
Forward Party, because that's what we're going to try and do.
GOLODRYGA: He ran for president, then New York City mayor, and now he's launching his own political party. Michel Martin talks with Andrew Yang
about his vision for America's future.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, who will be back next week.
A dark day for democracy in the U.K. That is the reaction from British lawmakers today after the killing of a member of Parliament. Conservative
M.P. Sir David Amess was stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery.
These are one-on-one meetings between lawmakers and voters and a cornerstone of British democracy. A 25-year-old man has been arrested in
connection with the killing, but the motive remains unclear.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his deepest condolences to Sir David's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future.
And we have lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: David Amess is the second sitting U.K. lawmaker to be killed in just five years.
Fresh in many people's memories will be the horrific murder of Labor M.P. Jo Cox back in 2016. She was shot and stabbed by a right-wing terrorist in
her constituency in West Yorkshire.
Joining me now with the latest is producer Nada Bashir. She's at the scene in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.
And, Nada, thank you so much for joining us. I should note for our viewers that we are waiting to hear a police briefing any moment now. So, if I
interrupt you, it's because we're going to be going straight to that briefing.
But you are on the scene there where, just hours ago, Sir David Amess was meeting with his constituents there in a church when terror broke out. Tell
us about the scene and the mood there.
NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Bianna, this is a shocked community. This is a very small, close-knit neighborhood, just a small seaside town here
east of London.
And people here are completely distressed and shocked by the murder that took place just about 50 meters behind me in this Methodist church. And
throughout the last few hours, we have seen members of this local community coming here to this police cordon line, leaving flowers and coming by to
leave their messages on these flowers and balloons behind me.
And there is a real sense of sorrow in this local community, many questioning how something like this could have happened here in this small
town. Many are also questioning whether or not enough security is being given to local lawmakers.
And you heard from Prime Minister Boris Johnson there expressing his sorrow at this tragic murder of Sir David Amess. And many have said that he was a
much-loved member of this local community, very engaged with the residents here.
Many have spoken to us just in the last few minutes as well, telling us that they had spoken to him on numerous occasions and he had been a great
help and a great loved member of this community.
But, as you mentioned Jo Cox, again, murdered about more than five years ago, and it has really raised some serious questions as to what is being
done to ensure that members of Parliament are given enough security really and protections to ensure that things like this never happen again.
And, really, this community is beyond shaken, but we are expecting to hear from Essex police, as you mentioned, police officers here, of course,
standing by. And there is a heavy police presence as this investigation continues.
We do know that a 25-year-old man has been arrested and police have said they are not searching for any further suspects at this point, although the
motive is still not known. And that must be stressed that we don't know why this attack has been carried out.
But police have been appealing to local residents, calling on anyone who may have seen something suspicious or may have access to CCTV footage,
dashcam footage that might be able to help the police piece together this puzzle as to why Sir David Amess was brutally attacked here in Leigh-on-Sea
GOLODRYGA: A brutal attack against a member of Parliament and against democracy as well there.
Nada, thank you so much for that.
Well, the flags outside the British Parliament and Downing Street have been lowered to half-mast to mark David Amess' death.
And joining me now from London is Tom Tugendhat, a fellow Conservative member of Parliament who worked alongside Sir David.
And, Tom, first and foremost, my condolences to you for the loss of your colleague and your friend.
What is your reaction to the senseless murder?
TOM TUGENDHAT, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, mostly, it's just grief.
I mean, this is the second of my colleagues and friends that I have lost in Parliament in the last five years. Jo Cox, who I was working with at the
time, was murdered in 2016, and now David today. This is, I have got to be honest, not what I expected in British democracy, in British Parliament, in
British life in 2021. This is certainly not the level of political violence that I think is acceptable in any country.
GOLODRYGA: Acceptable nowhere.
And, of course, our thoughts are also with his family and his wife and their five children. To give our viewers a sense of David's background and
in his career in Parliament, he'd served in Parliament for 38 years and really working for his constituents in Essex. I have heard many, many now
tributes come in from people across the political spectrum, just talking about his dedication to his constituents.
Can you give us a sense of who he was both as a man and as a politician?
TUGENDHAT: Well, he had a very strong faith. He was a very strong practicing Roman Catholic, and I know that all of our prayers are with him
He was -- he set up and made work the All-Party Parliamentary Group, the friendship group, if you like, across party M.P.s for the Holy See. And he
was an incredibly charming and fun guy. I mean, he's always smiling, always happy, always with a joke.
And so I think for a lot of us this is particularly painful, because, frankly, if you can take against David, you can take against anyone. I
mean, there's really -- there's absolutely no possible justification for it.
And, in fact, David wrote a very sadly prescient piece a year ago, in which he spoke about the importance of members of Parliament meeting
constituents. And, of course, he's right. You can't represent people you don't know. And you can't get to know people if you don't meet them. And so
he wrote, quite rightly, about why, despite the dangers, since the murder of Jo Cox, that all of us hold sessions in village halls on our own or with
a single member of staff across the country almost every Friday and Saturday, and why it matters so much.
So, to see him murdered as he was really doing his bit for democracy and for the community and for our country is really heartbreaking.
GOLODRYGA: And you can't serve your constituents without meeting with them.
And I take it that these face-to-face meetings, these surgeries, as they're called, just resumed a few weeks ago, given the COVID restrictions. And, of
course, his constituents had been alerted that he would be holding one today. And no one could have foreseen, obviously, the tragedy that would
unfold. And it's going to make, I would imagine, for a very somber return to Parliament, to the House of Commons on Monday, as you -- when your
colleagues will rightly mourn his passing and his memory.
I'm just curious. This question of security and those who do not feel safe now going to do what they have wanted to do, which is why they have turned
to this industry to become a politician to the sector to serve their people.
How important is this for you now and for your colleagues to address?
TUGENDHAT: Well, I do know people who stood down in the 2017 election because the threats against them were more than they were prepared to take,
quite rightly, quite understandably.
And I know of others who decided not to stand. And, frankly that's why this matters so much. The murder of Jo or the murder of David is not just an
attack against them, a horrific attack against them. It's not just against their family or their friends.
It's a fundamental attack on the British people and the right of communities across our country to choose who they wish to represent them.
The people of South and West chose David to be their champion, to be their representative in Parliament.
They didn't choose anybody else. And whoever murdered him has effectively violated their rights and denied them the freedom that is absolutely
fundamental to a free society. So this is a really serious issue, not just for the individuals, not just for those of us who know David -- or knew
David -- sorry -- but for our whole country.
And it's absolutely awful. But we have got to find a way of making this work, because, as you rightly say, we have got to represent our
communities. We have got to get out and meet people. We have got to be approachable. And we have got to find a way to make that work.
GOLODRYGA: Unfortunately, it's not an issue exclusive to the U.K.
You know very well what what's unfolding in the U.S. as well, and this is all happening as the political rhetoric continues to heat up, whether it be
due to social media, what have you, across the world. What is the solution, just in the short term, regarding safety?
When you now go next to meet with your constituents, are you going to be concerned about your welfare? And do you think that more efforts need to be
put in for extra security?
TUGENDHAT: Well, I will be talking to the speaker, who's been brilliant, actually, has been fantastic at doing his best to improve security for
members of Parliament for the last few years, and has been doing what he thinks is right and pushed it a hell of a long way.
But I'm going to continue to meet people, because I can't do the job if I don't. And I spent this part of 10 years fighting for my country in Iraq
and Afghanistan. And I see no reason to stop fighting for it now.
It's different. Of course, it's different. But it's important that we remember what matters. And, frankly, this isn't just about me. It's not
just about elected politicians in your Congress or your Senate. It's about the whole of the free world. It's about every citizen of the United States
or the U.K. or Canada or France and many, many other countries.
If you want a democracy, if you want a free country, you need to respect those who are elected, whether or not you chose them. You need to remember
that they were chosen by free and democratic processes, whether or not you supported them, and that poisoning the atmosphere of debate undermines not
just the ability of democracy to work in any country, but actually risks the very freedoms that many people claim to champion.
So all I can say is, be careful what you say and careful what you wish for.
GOLODRYGA: You mentioned the prescient note that he offered that, while it is no doubt dangerous, following the passing of his colleague and you're
calling Jo Cox and her brutal murder in 2016, that it is so important to meet with constituents.
David Amess also raised the issue of senseless knife murders, just twice in March. And, obviously we're going to be hearing from the police with more
details, I would imagine, behind a possible motive and how this murder transpired.
But it appears that it was at the hands of a knife-wielding a man. Is this an issue of concern for you and one that needs to be addressed throughout
TUGENDHAT: Yes, look, of course it is. It's a matter of very serious concern.
I mean, one of the great luxuries we have in the U.K. is that we have very, very, very few firearms. In fact, there are no pistols in private hands.
There are no handguns in private hands. And so firearms violence is extremely unusual.
But there are knife attacks. They're not frequent. They're -- we're talking about a couple of hundred a year. We're not talking very much more than
that. But it's still -- any murder, however it's committed, is terrific.
And this attack on David is utterly senseless and completely brutal.
GOLODRYGA: Unlike others who, when you hear about their tenure serving the country, 38 years, you would imagine some have aspirations for higher roles
in government. And that wasn't the case for David.
He seemed to be perfectly content as sort of a backbencher there just serving his constituents. What was it about his voters and being with these
people in meeting with them that was so important to him?
TUGENDHAT: Well, he -- for many of us, representing your community, as their person in Parliament, is a huge honor. I mean, it's about championing
a place and people that you think are great. Otherwise, you wouldn't do it.
And, for David, it was about making sure that the people in his community got the best representation, the best arguments, the best case made for
their -- for what they needed every time he got the chance to do so.
And we only need to look at his speeches in Parliament to see that he made use of every second that he had. And he championed very, very strongly his
community. And you're right. There are many people who want to be ministers and want to be in Cabinet or want to be prime minister even.
But there are plenty of others who want to do the best for their community and see that as the peak of democracy. And I think both are important. Both
are absolutely essential. We need to have those who will champion our community or speak and we need those who power government forward and make
GOLODRYGA: I'm coming to you from an interesting vantage point, from the United States, where, as you noted, like in the U.K., we have mass murders
quite frequently here in the U.S. that we cover, I have covered extensively as well.
But a murder of any kind, they're all tragic, they're all brutal. And we have had politicians, Gabby Giffords, who's a Democrat, who was shot. And
Representative Scalise, Steve Scalise, was shot and thankfully survived, a Republican member of Congress.
I'm just curious. The rhetoric that we continue to see, that continues to become more and more divisive and heated, both in the United States and the
U.K. and around the world, if you could just lastly speak to that danger and the effect that it has on democracy and the rights of constituents to
meet with their elected officials and vote them out or vote them in, but do it with civility.
TUGENDHAT: Well, look, I think you're right. I think it's absolutely fundamental to have courtesy if you want to have freedom, frankly. The two
You can be clear. You can be forthright. You can be strident, but there's absolutely no need to be violent either in language or in action. And what
we have seen in recent years is the ability to communicate rage, to communicate a visceral anger more easily than it has been for years.
Before, you had to pick up a pen, write a letter, find an envelope, find a stamp. It just took you a while to do it. And so many people didn't get
round to it, and people calmed down before they fed into a wider context.
Now we all know that you can do it much more quickly than that, whether on e-mail, social media, or however you choose to do it. So finding ways in
which we remember that our words have actions, and it doesn't matter how important or how unimportant we think we are. The reality is that we are
part of the zeitgeist that shapes nearer.
And it's -- and it's very much up to us as individuals, wherever you live, whoever you are, to conduct yourself as you would like, your democracy,
your country, to operate. And we can all poison the well or we can all save it.
GOLODRYGA: Such an important and poignant point to make.
Tom Tugendhat, I'm so sorry again for the loss of your friend. It's a dark day in the U.K. We are sending our condolences from across the pond to you
and everybody there in the U.K., of course, obviously mostly to David Amess's wife, Julia, and their five children.
Thank you so much for joining us.
TUGENDHAT: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: And let's bring in correspondent Cyril Vanier. He's at the Downing Street, the prime minister's residence in London.
And, Cyril, as noted earlier, we are expecting a police press briefing at any time. And, of course, we will go there directly as soon as that
But let's just go back and get a sense of what Downing Street's response has been, because we have heard from the prime minister obviously offering
his condolences as well. But the question of security for M.P.s is a big one and one that he didn't really address it. In fact, he tried to avoid it
or skirted it for now at least.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He didn't try. He completely -- the prime minister completely avoided the question of security.
And he was pointedly asked that question after making his initial remarks, Bianna. And the prime minister just would not be drawn on that topic. And
there's very good reason for that. We are now seeing on this tragic day that two British lawmakers have been killed, murdered in the space of five
And I think there was -- for as tragic as the murder of Jo Cox was five years ago, it was still possible just about to believe that it was an
outlier, that it was an abnormality, given this country's very pacified political climate, but two lawmakers killed in five years, you can no
longer make that argument.
There is now inevitably the realization that lawmakers are going to need extra protection. Something has failed in the security surrounding the
lawmakers, by definition, because this should not be happening. It shouldn't be happening ever. And it shouldn't be happening at this
And all of that, that question, which is going to be a deep and painful one, as to whether this could have been avoided, as to what has been done
since the murder of Jo Cox, none of that was actually addressed by the prime minister, who said that today is a day of grieving, and he simply
didn't want to engage with that question, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: And it is a very important one and one that David Amess' colleagues no doubt are worried about and thinking about today as well and,
of course, when they resume session in Parliament on Monday.
You talk about this issue of threats and heightened threat in today's environment. I was struck that, just last week, the London mayor, Sadiq
Khan, explained the extraordinary level of security that he has to employ on a day-to-day basis. So this isn't exclusive to one or two members of
Parliament. This is something that's engulfed many elected officials on both sides of this political spectrum.
VANIER: No, and that's very true.
And the -- Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of Parliament, told the BBC just last month that, since he took that position, he has received two death
threats. And so you mentioned the mayor of London. This is the speaker of Parliament, and multiple other politicians have received death threats.
Now, one aspect of that is simply that the bar, the threshold, it's as simple as that, to send a death threat to a public official is so much
lower now than it was, say, 15 years ago, because of social media. I mean, it takes no effort to threaten the life of a public official in this
country or in any other country because of the technology that is at everybody's hands and in everybody's pocket at any given moment in time.
So I think that's one aspect of this. And, inevitably, there's going to be a question -- and I heard you mention that with your guest previously --
about the general climate in this country, the climate of politics in this country.
It is a widely shared impression that it has become more violent, more violent in word, and, today, we are seeing more violent in action. Now, are
those two things connected? Is there a sliding scale, the more people insult their politicians, then the higher the likelihood of something, of a
tragic event like today happening? I don't know. That would be a question for an expert.
But, certainly, the violence in words is something that Sir David Amess himself had noticed. "The Guardian" reporting that he had complained of the
rudeness that he was exposed to during his 2017 political campaign in his constituency. He said it is very surprising -- those words sent to "The
Guardian." It's very surprising.
And he was deeply disturbed by the fact that the general public now regularly uses expletives to address their politicians.
GOLODRYGA: Look, with democracies come some ugly sides as well. Freedom of speech is something that's granted to those, and in the U.K. and other
democracies, in the United States as well.
Threats, unfortunately, many would argue, are part of the trade as well, but, of course, it does completely change the narrative when they become
violent, and it's not only an attack on members of Parliament, but on democracy itself.
Cyril Vanier, thank you so much reporting to us outside of 10 Downing Street. We appreciate it.
And, of course, we will bring you that police presser when we get to it live.
Well, now, this shocking attack is reverberate reverberating around the world. The E.U.'s ambassador to the U.K. said he was -- quote -- "very
shocked by the news of the death of M.P. Sir David Amess following a horrific attack. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved
The E.U. is juggling a raft of pressing challenges right now, from Afghanistan, the Iran nuclear deal, to fears over a potential Polish exit
from the bloc.
With all this front and center, the E.U.'s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, is joining me now from Washington, where he's been meeting with
Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Mr. Borrell, thank you so much for joining us.
I do have to begin by asking you to respond to this brutal murder of a U.K. M.P. Obviously, this isn't an issue that is exclusive to the United
Kingdom. There are many elected officials within the E.U. that are recipients of threats as well.
What does that say about the state of security? And are you concerned about elected officials within the 27 members?
JOSEP BORRELL, EUROPEAN UNION MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Certainly, we are shocked by this awful news.
I cannot tell you how the United Kingdom takes care of the security of their people, but, in Europe, from time to time, we are suffering these
kinds of attacks, some people walking in the street, some parliamentarian and a meeting, some people just doing their normal activities.
And this is something that the European people feel is a threat. And that is something that also conforms our attitude towards migration and towards
the fight against terrorism.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, and from one attack to another, a terror attack I'd like to ask you about that happened just hours ago today in Afghanistan, killing
at least 37 and wounding 70 in Kandahar outside of a mosque, a bombing there by the terrorists attacking the minority Shiites.
And your reaction to the increased not only violence that we're seeing following the U.S. and allies' withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the
humanitarian condition that continues to deteriorate. Only 5 percent of Afghan households now have enough to eat, according to the U.N.
BORRELL: Yes, the socioeconomic situation in Afghanistan is very dire.
I have there some people representing the European Union in a discreet way contacting the Taliban government and the people from the Afghan society.
What I can say is that we should work together with U.S. and everybody from the Western world in order to avoid the socioeconomic collapse of the
And, there, we have a dilemma, a dilemma of how to help Afghan people, going further, the humanitarian help, what we call humanitarian-plus,
without supporting the Afghanistan government. We cannot fund the Afghan government.
Several of their ministers are on the list of terrorist people of the United Nations, but there are one million Afghan boys and girls that,
according with the last records, can die of hunger and cold during the next winter, and the winter's coming. So we need to provide more assistance,
certainly, more assistance.
GOLODRYGA: And therein lies the question. How can you do that?
Is the E.U. dealing directly with the Taliban, something that the United States, as you well know, does not acknowledge the Taliban as official
government there in Afghanistan? What is the take of the E.U.?
BORRELL: We are not recognizing the Taliban government. Not at all.
But we cannot abandon the Afghan people. There are ways of trying to help them. There are United Nations organizations working in Afghanistan. There
are a lot of ONGs working in Afghanistan.
We are already providing a lot of humanitarian assistance. But we have to go further humanitarian assistance if we want the girls to go to school.
First, it has to be schools. If there is no school, no chance for the girl going to school.
And this will require a stronger effort. Three-quarters of the Afghan budget were being paid until now by the Western world. Everything has been
cut. And it shows that we don't support the Afghan government, but we have to support Afghan people.
GOLODRYGA: Mr. Borrell, I'm sorry. I'm going to need to interrupt you.
We are going to go back to the United Kingdom for the police briefing following the murder of Sir David Amess.
BEN-JULIAN HARRINGTON, CHIEF CONSTABLE, ESSEX POLICE DEPARTMENT: -- emergency services to this incident was immediate. And our officers arrived
on scene within minutes.
When they arrived, they found to Sir David Amess, M.P., who had suffered multiple injuries. This was a difficult incident. But our officers and
paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service work extremely hard to say to David. Tragically, he died at the scene.
A 25-year-old man was arrested immediately at the scene on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody. A knife was also recovered at the scene. The
investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the Specialist Counterterrorism Command.
We made it clear at the time of the incident that we did not believe there was any immediate further threat to anyone else in the area. It will be for
investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident. But, as always, they will keep an open mind.
Today is a tragic day for the family and colleagues of Sir David, the community of Southend, and, indeed, for the whole of Greater Essex.
Sir David has dedicated his life to serving the communities of Essex and Southend. And today, he was simply dispensing his duties when his life was
horrifically cut short.
I know the residents of Essex, of Southend West who stand with me today in remembering a member of our community. Here, Essex Police, officers right
across our force and particularly in Southend have endured a longstanding and positive working relationship with Sir David, and today's events will
be hard to take for everyone who knew him, especially trained family liaison officers of providing support to his family today.
Our officers will continue to work around the clock to ensure justice is delivered for Sir David and his family. And I'd like to thank the people of
Southend for their understanding as the investigation continues. I would urge anyone who has any information in relation to this terrible incident
to call Essex Police on 101, online or indeed, via Crime Stoppers.
Finally, I ask for everyone to respect the privacy of Sir David's family at this really difficult time. And lastly, to say that my personal thoughts
having worked with Sir David and, of course, all of those from Essex Police and our prayers with Sir David and his family at this difficult time.
HIRST: Thank you, Chief. Thanks a lot. This is a shocking and utterly despicable attack against somebody who was an outstanding MP and has worked
tirelessly for their community for many, many years. My prayers are with Sir David and his family on this incredibly difficult time.
I know from personal experience, the passion with which he stood up for and represented this community. He had a big heart. I also want to acknowledge
the officers who attended the event for their bravery and courage. It is vital that we give the police all of our support to ensure that they can do
their job at this time. For anybody who has information, please do not hesitate to contact the police. Thank you.
QUEST: The press conference by the police authorities. The chief constable there giving a press conference. Sir David talking about Sir David.
Describing him and the work he had done. That was Ben Julian Harrington of the Essex Police describing how they found Sir David having been attacked
at his constituency whilst holding a constituency meeting. The 25-year-old man has been arrested. A knife has been recovered.
At this point, he said -- Chief Constable Harrington said, it's not possible to say whether or not this was a terrorist act or what element
terror might have played in this that was being investigated by the authorities. And then you heard Roger Hirst who is the police and crime
commissioner for the region describing it as a despicable attack on a man who had a big heart, Sir David Amess.
The -- we're waiting on more details from the various authorities. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been with us now with the latest developments. He's
with me from Parliament.
The one thing, Nick Paton Walsh, listening to that, it's so early in the investigation, just about impossible to make -- to say more perhaps other
than the facts of the attack rather than the reasons behind it.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Certainly. I think something did occur to me listening to that press statement. I think, at
this stage, when it's clear that they have the murder suspect in custody, it does not appear from what they're saying that he necessarily tried to
flee. It doesn't appear that there was a chase after this man.
And at this stage, while specialists, counterterrorism police are leading the investigation, beginning the investigation, they're not at a point
where they can specifically say this is a terror related instance. And they urge people to keep an open mind.
So, I think, they are still definitely digging down into the motivation of this suspected individual behind the attack. I would imagine at some point,
they would have been able to establish his identity. So, the public statements we're hearing as to how certain they perhaps feel about the
motivation about this individual are, to me, surprisingly unclear given the amount of time since the attack, given the individual is actually in their
custody at this stage.
There may be further investigation they're doing here, there may be some lack of clarity or there may be needing a degree of certainty, they don't
have at this stage. But Counterterrorism Police's involvement is something you would expect with a high-profile crime like that but could be
terrorism. Because, obviously, you don't want to not have them in from the beginning if you later discover that's the case, Richard.
QUEST: Anybody who has looked at the political career of Sir David Amess, you see a classic sort of back wardsman (ph), Tori back venture, with a
distinguished series of legislation, parliamentary committies, one of those MPs, Nick Paton Walsh, who works solidly behind the scenes and carries
WALSH: Absolutely. A recognizable face to anyone in the United Kingdom. Rare, frankly, given how disinterested so many Britains are in a daily
political life. But this is a man, when you saw him, and you would know whuat his job was, whoever you were in this country. And he stood for so
many centralized values of the Conservative Party.
A staunch Roman Catholic who was an animal lover, who wanted to see a statue in honor of the queen's jubilee coming up. A lot of key very
centrist ideas behind his beliefs here and made Sir David Amess because of his continued dedication service to this country. But not a man who dabbled
in some of the fringe ideas of the Conservative Party that he was a member of.
So, to some degree, I think there's a lot of surprise if indeed he was targeted for his political beliefs because they were, frankly, so
inoffensive, so centrist and so much part of the broad body politic of this country. So, there is a key focus, I think, here today on precisely what
the motivation of who police suspect was behind this, this 25-year-old man, and what this can tell us about what measures are needed in the future and
what necessarily may have been lacking in the past to prevent this crime from happening.
But, Richard, as you know, that the fear of terrorism at this point, it comes from so many different angles. Rational narratives are not always
there to explain what's happening. So, that's something important to remember as we will learn more about what's happening here.
QUEST: Nick, I want you to stay close by at hand because we do need to talk about this in relation to the murder of Jo Cox, five and a half years
ago, which I covered and you covered. And I need to put that into some -- the greater perspective. But Cyril Vanier is at Downing Street, the home of
the prime minister and in a sense, the center of the administration of government in executive government in Britain.
The prime minister has been speaking and it's not surprising there is shock at somebody. I mean, Cyril, you know, Sir David Amess was powerful back
venture, I don't want to say he was unassuming, but he was part of that cadre that was the backbone of the party.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, paying tribute to him an hour ago saying this, he
was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.
And, Richard, you mentioned and Nic mentioned, the -- I understand that we are actually able now to listen to the British prime minister, Boris
Johnson. Listen to this, Richard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: People are so shocked and saddened. Above all, he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in
politics. And he also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, whether the people who are suffering endometriosis,
passing laws to end cruelty to animals or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people often up and down the country.
David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future. And we've lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend
and colleague. And our thoughts are very much today with his wife, his children and his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Richard, what strikes me is when you look at the very broad range and the high volume of tributes and praise that has come in for Sir David
Amess, the common thread in all of this praise is praise for the man that he was, for his character, for the way he conducted himself in public
office. Listen to these words. He was a lovely, lovely man, according to the U.K. foreign secretary. A good gentleman who showed charity and
compassion to all. His every word marked by kindness. This according to Michael Gove, secretary of state for Levelling Up.
Another one, this one from Carrie Johnson, the wife, of course, the British prime minister. He was hugely kind and good. A true gent. And on and on it
goes. This was a man who crosses nearly four decades of public service was known to all for his kindness, for his conduct and integrity, Richard.
QUEST: All right. Cyril, I make the same request to you as to Nick Paton Walsh because I'm going to come back to both of you in a second. After
we've been down to the constituency. Nic Robertson is in Leigh-on-Sea, that's where the attack happened.
Before we get into bigger issues, Nic Robertson, it's coming up 20 to 7:00 at night where you are. Paint the picture please for what's going on.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Obviously, a lot of camera crews, police line. And just to the right here, I don't know if we
can see because the light isn't on me, but you might be able to see here a few bunches of flowers beginning to be laid in the tribute here. The church
where the murder took place is just 100 yards or so down the road behind me. There are some police here.
But we've been seeing people come to lay these flowers. One man, our producer, Nada, spoke with an Iranian national who had driven all the way
from London to lay flowers here in a tribute to Amess's representation and upholding the values of democracy. Another lady Nada spoke to here said he
was really well loved in the community quite simply because he put his heart and soul into it. Her child wanted a future career in politics and
was willing to show them around parliament. Somebody who went out of his way to go and visit people, meet them in their homes and talk to them.
Practice those values of democracy, those ones that he cherished, meeting, an open constituency meeting like the one today and going out and just
meeting with the people who elected him. And, of course, those within the community that didn't. He was liked. The street, apart from our voices here
standing at this light, is very quiet, much quieter than it would be on a normal day for sure.
QUEST: Before we take a break, Nic, I just want to give our viewers an idea of what Sir David was engaged in when this attack happened, because
it's very similar to that which Jo Cox was engaged in. And in some parts of the world, this very concept of a constituency meeting where you hear what
your voters are concerned about, give me a flavor of that and its significance.
ROBERTSON: A tradition of this country, of the open values of openly practiced democracy whereby a Parliamentarian would hold what's known as a
surgery for constituents, they would know the time, they would know the venue, they would be able to come, be it in an office or in a church like
this, and be able to put forward their problems, listen to possible solutions. Have an MP communicate with them how he would be addressing the
things that worry them.
Listen to the gripes and groans and moans of the community and try to find ways to help them. This is something that he wrote about in a book in 2016,
not long after Jo Cox's murder. She was shot by a ring-wing gunman in Batley and Spen at the constituency she represented in Yorkshire.
This scenario is something that had troubled him. He felt that Jo Cox's murder endangered that valuable tradition and those practices of people --
constituents openly being able to come and meet with their own peers. And also, that was something that had clearly been on his mind for some time.
He knew the vulnerabilities. Clearly, in this scenario, this was not what he expecting this day, but he knew the risks.
QUEST: Nic Robertson who is Leigh-on-Sea. We have, of course, Cyril Vanier in Downing Street and Nick Paton Walsh is in Parliament Square. We have
team coverage of this as we continue to work out the implications, not just obviously for the immediate case of the murder, but the reasons behind it
and the appallingness (ph) that now two British lawmakers have been murdered in just over five years.
QUEST: Breaking news on the murder today of the British Conservative member of Parliament, Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death whilst
having a constituency meeting in his Leigh-on-Sea constituency.
Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition says, today, is a dark and shocking day. Sir David had a profound sense of public duty. He was highly
respected and much liked across Houses of Parliament on all sides and within the Christian community.
Joining me now, Nick Paton Walsh in Parliament Square because we do need just the other point that Sir Keir Starmer says is, we have been here
before, he said. I think across politics on Jo Cox, what's needed in terms of security, I think today's a day when all of our thoughts are focused
with our prayers, are focused on them and what can be done.
Now, remind us, Nick Paton Walsh, why this is a particularly troubling bearing in mind what happened before.
WALSH: Because police violence for decades here, Richard, really since the IRA, Northern Ireland (INAUDIBLE) struggles in the '80s and '90s has been
so incredibly rare. The murder of Jo Cox, a Labour Party, opposition at this time, MP in 2016, just days before the vital Brexit referendum,
whether Britain should leave the E.U. They voted unexpectedly to do so. That shocked so many.
It was done by a man who later convicted, told his desire to glorify Naziism, far-right motivations there. He screamed out things to do with
British independents. During the time he used an adapted firearm and a knife to carry out this murder. It was so shocking because it was
There have been attacks on MPs over the last sort of two decades or so, but this is not a normal path of daily life. The U.K. is a very safe
comparatively place to live. 600 murders in the last financial year. So, that was shocking to so many. And it rose the specter of far-right
extremism in this U.K. Always in the background, on the tiny fringes, but in social media, increasingly loud, not necessarily building its percentage
support, but tying itself in at times as some of the uglier ends of the migration debate here which fed into the Brexit argument as well.
So, in the past few years, fears have grown as MPs find insults or threats on social media. Just part of the daily fabric of political life here.
WALSH: But those concerns have continued to build. And while we don't know today what the motivation was, Richard, people are worrying if this is an
extension of that.
QUEST: We'll be there with Cyril in Downing Street in a second, but I need you to address this. What do you do, because that balance between
availability, openness, getting as close as you can to the people who elect you and the constituency meeting of which you were talking earlier here --
here earlier, is a classic example of this? You don't want to wall off the politicians from those who would both seek help, but also to berate and to
heckle and to do all the things that politicians have to have.
WALSH: Well, there is the long stiff upper lip tradition of not buckling in to what may in this case terrorism, we don't know at this stage. The
Counterterrorism Police are leading the investigation at this stage. So, I'm sure there will be individual decisions being made by MPs down the line
to either use any increased resources and top law enforcement officer in the U.K., the home security, Priti Patel, suggested they will be looking at
what extra measures might be needed, as they did after the murder of Jo Cox.
Clearly, some critics might argue not adequately enough as to what might be available to MPs, not much money was spent after Jo Cox's murder, more than
the 4 million normally spent a year. Just short of 200,000, about $300,000 by most exchange rates.
So, a lot, I think, will be discussed about what extra security could be there. But the notion of providing armed escorts or metal detectors of some
sort of impermeable 24-hour barrier between MPs, the hundreds of them and one or two individuals in the public is an exceptionally expensive and very
inhibiting measure to introduce.
And so, I think many MPs will be wondering whether or not or agreeing to those measures if indeed they are offered, does in fact provide a
concession to whoever's behind the latest attack and the attack against Jo Cox. We know the answer to that, that possibly damages the democracy more
than the threat is urgent. Richard.
QUEST: Nick Paton Walsh there with me, of course, for the next -- while we continue.
And, Cyril Vanier, Nick raises a very strong point there. You're in Downing Street. The problem is now, parliament is being bombed with a car bomb that
killed (INAUDIBLE) those years ago, in the administration. Jo Cox was murdered by an old rifle -- by use of old rifle. And now, a member of
Parliament has been murdered by knife. They are going to have to do something.
VANIER: Absolutely, Richard. And I think the murder of Jo Cox, until that time, 2016, up until now, I mean, it was still possible for some people to
argue that was an outlier. That British lawmakers don't get murdered. This just doesn't happen. And so, that was an abnormality.
But in fact, now that we see two lawmakers have been killed in five years, you can -- that argument falls flat. You can no longer say it's an
abnormality. It is happening, in fact, way too often in this country, way too often by any country's standards.
So, what are you going to be able to do about it? Because the fact remains that members of Parliament are the interface between voters and the circles
of power within which they carry the voice of the voters. So, they need to speak to them. They need to be able to interact with their constituents,
with voters, be able to exchange, have conversations and you can't completely wall them off.
It would take a security expert to say whether it's possible to do better than what has been done until now, but I would wager on the side of yes. It
is possible to do better and it is necessary to do better, Richard.
QUEST: Cyril Vanier in Downing Street. Thank you. It's coming up to 7:00 in the U.K. We will continue to watch.
And flags across Parliament have been lowered as they will elsewhere in London and indeed, in the United Kingdom. They're at half-mast, as they
say, in Britain, following the news of the killing of Sir David Amess.
The U.K. is now a country in mourning. The killing is beyond politics and beyond reason. The tributes from all sides of the political spectrum are
deep, sincere and meaningful. Sir David amess will be missed by his family, of his colleagues and his friends. And indeed, it is rare, even in times of
crisis and extremists, we're all familiar with the politically correct, gosh, isn't this awful, but with Sir David tonight, we are seeing true,
genuine sorrow at a man that everybody says was a decent human being.
I'm Richard Quest. The news continues.