After the horrific and senseless killing of David Amess on Friday, huge amounts of pain came to the surface in our family. The parallels are obvious and it has hit us all very hard. With Kim Leadbeater (Jo’s sister) now in parliament, it’s not just pain that the killing rekindles from the past, but real fear for the present as well.
This is felt by almost all MPs, almost all of their staff and every one of their families. This weekend there will have been hundreds of conversations asking the same question: is it worth it?
But what really makes many wonder is not just the horrific killings but the day-to-day brutality with which our political debate is conducted, from increasingly regular death threats to online abuse. The police investigation team convened after Jo’s murder found, between 2016 and 2020, 582 reports of malicious communications and handled 46 cases of harassment. Nine cases were classified as terrorism-related.