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Slain MP David Amess to be honored; deputy PM says online hate 'out of control'

Slain MP David Amess to be honored; deputy PM says online hate 'out of control'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson lays flowers at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Britain, on Saturday to honor slain lawmaker David Amess, who was killed at the church a day earlier during a meeting with constituents. Photo by Andrew Parsons/No. 10 Downing Street via EPA-EFE

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead a series of tributes planned in the House of Commons on Monday to honor slain lawmaker David Amess, who was stabbed to death days ago while meeting with a group of constituents.

Amess, 69, a member of the Conservative Party who represented Southend West Essex since 1997, was meeting with constituents at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-On-Sea when he was stabbed several times and died at the scene. Ali Harbi Ali, 25, is accused in Amess' death and is in police custody.

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Amess' family called for public unity on Sunday and asked Britons to set aside their political differences and "show kindness and love."

"This is the only way forward," the family said, according to Independent Catholic News. "Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness. Whatever one's race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.

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"As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Please let some good come from this tragedy."

Amess is the second member of British Parliament to be killed in the last five years -- a fact that's led to calls for upgraded security for lawmakers.

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"It is essential that we learn from this tragic event, identify any additional security requirements, and continue to encourage [lawmakers] to take up the existing measures available to them," said a spokesperson for parliamentary security, according to The Guardian.

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British Home Secretary Priti Patel said offering police protection at lawmakers' constituent meetings is under discussion, as is the use of electronic screening measures like those at airports.

London's Metropolitan Police said the attack that killed Amess may have been an act of terrorism, and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab noted that lawmakers are subjected to a lot of hate on the Internet.

"The elephant in the room of all this is the amount of online hate that we all get is out of control," Raab told Sky News. "I'm a free speech man, I want to defend that to my dying days but, at the same time, I think the amount of abuse, the vilification directed at MPs, particularly female MPs, has got to stop."

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