Sir David Amess MP

A message from the Chair of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor John Howson

The killing of Sir David Amess MP is a tragedy for us all. As the fourth parliamentarian to suffer an attack since 2000 while serving their constituents, and the third fatality - along with Jo Cox, Cllr David Pennington GM died protecting his MP – these attacks are sadly becoming far too frequent.

As Councillors across Oxfordshire we send our condolences to Sir David’s family and give thanks for the uplifting message that they have proclaimed.

On Sunday, two civic services took place across the county of Oxfordshire. In both, Councillors and other public servants from across the political divide came together to give thanks for the work that so many individuals do on behalf of their communities. In Henley, the Council processed from the Town Hall to the parish church. The public procession and witness were not cancelled because of the events of last Friday.

It is right that were look at measures of support and protection for those in public service. However, all councillors recognise the power of democratic politics to make a positive difference to people’s lives and that politicians of all Parties and of no Party affiliation are dedicated public servants discharging their duties as best they can.

We must not retreat behind closed walls, but reinforce the cornerstone of democracy that is the accessibility of those who serve their communities, from parish and town councils to Westminster.

As a victim of a knife attack when a young teacher in the 1970s, these attacks have a personal resonance. I was lucky and survived thanks to the intervention of another. I didn’t stop teaching and our politicians across Oxfordshire will rise to the challenge of promoting and serving the needs of those that live, work and visit our county. We will continue to serve our communities.

Councillor John Howson

Chair, Oxfordshire County Council