Hucknall priest calls for 'respect and kindness' in the wake of hometown MP's shocking murder
A Hucknall church minister has urged for society to end the toxicity in political debate and show more kindness and respect to each other as he paid tribute to murdered MP Sir David Amess.
Rev Simon Robinson, is the minister at Hucknall Baptist Church and has lived in the town for the past five years.
However, he hails originally from Southend, and Sir David – who was stabbed at a church during a regular constituency surgery – represented Southend West at Westminster.
Rev Robinson said: “Hucknall is a great place to live and is full of lovely people and I have felt welcomed and accepted by the community.
"However, when you talk to me you will probably notice that I have a different accent to people who were born and bred here.
"Southend is usually associated with the longest pier in the world, the ‘Golden Mile’ and the band Dr. Feelgood, if you’re of a certain age.
"Sadly, my hometown is currently on the news for all the wrong reasons.
Sir David Amess was brutally murdered last Friday, in a chilling echo of the killing of Jo Cox five years ago.
"Sir David was a big figure in my hometown.
"My friends have told me how he supported local projects such as the debt advice centre and food banks, and those that welcomed refugees.
"It has been moving to hear people of all political persuasions and faiths speak so highly of Sir David and express their deep sadness.
"He was keen to get amongst people and to bring them together and his influence continues even after his death.
"This tragic event has re-started discussion about the toxicity of current political debate and comments that are made on social media.
"As a Christian I seek to follow the New Testament principles to, ‘love my neighbour’ and to ‘make every effort to be at peace with all people’
"The shocking news from my hometown and the subsequent debate has made me do some heart searching.
"I realise that there have been occasions when I have made my views known in ways which fall far short of these values.
"Our community is facing some big issues which are generating heated debate.
"It is good and proper to make our opinions known and to campaign for the causes we believe in.
"My plea is that we treat one another with respect and kindness.
"This would honour the memory of Sir David, and Jo Cox MP.