Sir David Amess has been described as a "kind and loyal man” by a personal friend, as south east London MPs paid tribute following his death.

The 69-year-old Tory veteran, who had been an MP since 1983, was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery in an Essex church.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

Sir David Evenett, Conservative MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said: "Absolutely devastated at the killing of my personal friend and long-term Parliamentary colleague, Sir David Amess.

News Shopper: Officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)Officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)

"He was a good, hard-working, courteous, kind and loyal man, as well as a dedicated constituency MP. Our thoughts and prayers are with Julia and his family."

Gareth Bacon, Conservative MP for Orpington, said: "I am devastated to hear that Sir David Amess MP passed away today after a sickening attack during his constituency surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and staff. There simply are no words."

Bob Neill, Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, said: "Devastated by this dreadful news. David was a friend for over 40 years and a highly respected colleague. Utterly numbed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and staff."

Janet Daby, Labour MP for Lewisham East Just heard Sir David Amess has died. I am sorry and sad this has happened to him and his family. This is shocking and is intensely disturbing.

"It is an attack on democracy and is so wrong. My condolences to his family, friends and staff."

Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said: "In all honesty, I am struggling to process that this has happened.

"It is devastating. I cannot imagine what David's family are going through right now.

"My thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with them, David's team and his many friends in Parliament and beyond."

Abena Oppong-Asare, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, said: "What has happened today is beyond words. Tragic and devastating that David Amess has passed away. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and staff."

Flags have been lowered to half-mast outside Parliament following Sir David’s death.

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