Labour and the Liberal Democrats will not stand a candidate in the upcoming Southend West by-election after the killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess by a suspected terrorist, it has been claimed.
Sir David died after he was allegedly stabbed multiple times in Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex yesterday afternoon by a British national thought to be of Somali heritage.
Police are treating the incident as an act of terror and Scotland Yard said in a statement overnight that its inquiries 'revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism'.
Labour sources have told the Mail on Sunday's Dan Hodges that the party will not be fielding candidates in the by-election in Sir David's constituency. One senior Labour figure told Sky News' Jon Craig that Opposition parties should give Tories 'a free run' in the ballot.
It comes as the Home Secretary said security measures will be put in place to ensure MPs can continue to meet constituents safely following the killing of Sir David, a veteran Tory and prominent supporter of Brexit who was first elected to Parliament in the 1980s.
Tobias Ellwood, a former Tory defence minister, called for face-to-face meetings to be suspended pending a security review after long-serving MP Sir David was fatally stabbed on Friday.
But Priti Patel said it is possible to strike a balance between the safety of MPs and carrying out the democratic process in-person, as she urged elected representatives not to be 'cowed' by those threatening to 'stop us from functioning'.
Boris Johnson accompanied by Sir Keir Starmer as they pay their respects to the Conservative MP Sir David Amess after he was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church, in Leigh-on-Sea
The Met Police confirmed that the killing of Southend West Sir David Amess (pictured) is being treated as a terror incident 'with links to Islamist extremism' as a British man with Somali heritage remains in police custody on suspicion of murder
People during a candlelight vigil at Belfairs Recreation Ground near to Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea
Labour sources have told the Mail on Sunday's Dan Hodges that the party will not be fielding candidates in the by-election in Sir David's constituency. One senior Labour figure told Sky News' Jon Craig that Opposition parties should give Tories 'a free run' in the ballot
Home Secretary Priti Patel today issued a defiant message as Members of Parliament vowed to carry on holding face-to-face public meetings following Sir David Amess' killing.
Tobias Ellwood urged MPs to end surgeries but Speaker Lindsay Hoyle held his last night amid widespread debate over MPs' security and how to better protect parliamentarians.
Robert Largan, the Conservative MP for High Peak in Derbyshire, said he would still hold his surgery from 10.30am this morning while a number of other councillors took to social media to express their defiance.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Harriet Harman, who was sworn in to the House of Commons on the same day as Sir David in the 1980s, said she would be writing to the Prime Minister to ask for a Speaker's Conference to find a solution.
Asked whether there could be a balance between the safety of MPs and the democratic process, Ms Patel today said: 'It can be balanced, it can absolutely be balanced.'
A number of MPs posted on social media about their constituency events on Saturday as they showed support for the Home Secretary's message that political work must be able to continue in the open.
Ms Patel, who laid flowers at the site of Sir David's killing alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Saturday morning, told broadcasters: 'We are open to surgeries, doing our job. We will continue to do that.
'That is why there are measures under way right now - I convened meetings yesterday, I've been with the Speaker of the House, and with the police and our security services to make sure that all measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members.'
Her comments come after Mr Ellwood said physical meetings with voters should be paused while MPs await the result of the Home Secretary's call for police forces to review security arrangements.
Local police forces are contacting every MP to discuss their personal safety and the security of any events they plan to attend.
The chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, who was hailed as a hero for his attempts to save the life of PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack, tweeted that there was 'huge anxiety among MPs now'.
'Until the Home Secretary's review of MP security is complete I would recommend a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings,' he said.
But former Cabinet minister David Davis said suspending public meetings with MPs would be 'a terrible reflection of what David stood for'.
He told Sky News: 'Sure, we should be cautious, maybe we should do things to ensure the people who come to see us are bona fide, but I think actually pausing it would be a bad idea.
'It would be a terrible reflection of what David stood for - David himself was the ultimate constituency MP.'
Meanwhile, the longest continuously serving female MP, Harriet Harman, said she would be writing to the Prime Minister urging him to back a Speaker's Conference to look into what needs to change to ensure parliamentarians are safe in their constituencies.
Speaking to the BBC, the veteran Labour politician said: 'We cannot have the death of an MP being a price worth paying for our democracy.'
She added: 'I