MP still hopes to host surgeries in person after colleague killed

Waveney MP Peter Aldous

Waveney MP Peter Aldous - Credit: UK Parliament

One of the region's MPs said he still plans to host his constituency surgeries in person but is mindful of the safety of his staff.

Peter Aldous, the MP for Waveney, is still hoping to hold the events in person, in the wake of the fatal stabbing of Essex MP Sir David Amess.

Mr Aldous said he is in constant communications with the police regarding his safety, and despite his hesitation to move online, will look at the safety of his staff before making a decision.

Amess stabbing

Sir David Amess died after being stabbed at a constituency surgery. - Credit: PA

“There are talks about whether surgeries will go online and we won’t conduct them in person - from my point of view, I do not want to do that,” he said.

“But very often or always you are with members of your staff and I have to be very mindful of their security, their concerns and worries.

“My next surgery is in two weeks' time - in my mind, I want to go ahead with it but need to talk that through with staff beforehand.”

(left to right) Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, Prime Minis

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle carry flowers to the scene of Sir David Amess death. - Credit: PA

He said some forms of online communication are ideal for certain concerns, for example those he can forward them on to the relevant authorities or ministers.

However, he said the face to face interaction brings huge benefits.

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He said: “There is no replacement for doing that face to face, when doing meetings on Zoom you can’t pass paper over the table for us to have a look.

“Some people feel it is best to get it off their chest on what we have done right and talking face to face in that dialogue is often  the best way to do it.”

On the issue of abuse that MPs receive, Mr Aldous said he did receive some, but not as much as others, especially women.

“I get the impression talking to other colleagues that there are others who receive far worse abuse than I do,” he said.

“In particular, there is concern that a lot of female MPs get completely unacceptable abuse and it is pretty horrific.

“I do get some, on the whole the majority of it does not cross the borderline of acceptability.

“I have never had a death threat or threat to my person in that respect.”

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