Iain Duncan Smith reveals death threat as MPs pay tribute to 'unfailingly kind' colleague
Daniel Gayne and Pa Reporter
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Iain Duncan Smith has revealed he was the subject of a death threat just days after the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess.
The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green told a packed House of Commons on October 18, during a day of poignant tributes to the late MP for Southend West.
Yesterday, MPs shared fond memories of their colleague as well as their own experience of threats to their safety during an emotional day in Westminster.
Sir David had strong connections to Redbridge, having served as a councillor in the borough between 1982 and 1986, and local MPs John Cryer and Iain Duncan Smith were among those who offered their thoughts.
Mr Duncan Smith informed MPs he had himself received a threat over the weekend, apparently referencing Sir David’s killing.
An envelope was discovered by staff at his constituency office on Monday morning marked "Smith".
It contained a newspaper report with the headline "murder of Tory MP was terror attack" along with a threatening handwritten note, Mr Duncan Smith said.
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Scotland Yard said in a statement: "Police were called at 12.54pm on Monday, October 18 following a report of malicious communications at an office in Station Road, Chingford.
"Officers attended. There have been no arrests; enquiries continue."
The former Tory leader also said he was recently assaulted while in Manchester for the Conservative Party conference.
Five men were arrested in connection with the alleged incident.
In his speech to the Commons, Mr Duncan Smith remembered Sir David as “outstandingly, unfailingly kind, conscientious and generous to new members” and celebrated his sense of humour, which was always preceded, he said, “by that megawatt smile”.
He recalled one particular incident in which Sir David took newly elected Basildon councillors on a conga through the council chamber.
“For most of us here in this chamber, it's hard for us to smile enough, but for David it was hard work not to smile and he would smile even in some of the most difficult circumstances," he said.
John Cryer, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, had previously represented the constituency of Hornchurch, which bordered Sir David’s former seat of Basildon.
He described Sir David as a “hyper-assiduous constituency MP” as well as a thoughtful man who “would always ask about our sons and our children”.
Echoing comments made in the wake of the killing of Labour’s Jo Cox in 2016, he emphasised to the Commons there was more that united them than divided them.
“There are profound and visceral issues that divide parties in this place and individuals, but they are miniscule compared to what divides us from the forces of darkness that brought this about,” he said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Commons that a review of policing for politicians is “concluding literally in the next few days”.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the decision to grant Southend city status as he led passionate cross-party tributes to one of the “nicest, kindest and most gentle” MPs.
Southend was one of several towns competing for city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, with Sir David having pushed for the recognition for at least two decades.
The prime minister praised the Southend West MP as a politician who “simply wanted to serve the people of Essex” as a backbench Conservative.
And he vowed that the “contemptible act of violence” that took Sir David’s life on Friday at a surgery for constituents would not “detract from his accomplishments as a politician or as a human being”.
A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of Sir David’s murder and remains in police custody.
He has been detained under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and detectives are expected to continue to question him until Friday after a warrant of further detention was granted.