A Barnet MP has issued a statement reflecting on her friend and colleague.

The 69-year-old David Amess, an MP since 1983, was stabbed several times during an incident at a constituency surgery in Essex.

His fatal injury happened at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex at midday on Friday.

Mrs Villiers said: " He was a loyal friend, a kind and good man, and an energetic, enthusiastic and assiduous constituency MP. I am horrified by what has happened."

The two MPs worked together on animal welfare issues and had a shared interest in human rights and democratic reform in Iran.

They also campaigned for freedom for Cyprus and Sir David visited the island several times and was a member of Conservative Friends of Cyprus.

The Barnet MP continued: “This terrible tragedy means I will redouble my efforts to campaign on these issues which mattered so much to my late colleague.

“It is appalling that his life has been cut short in this brutal and vicious attack. To murder an MP at their constituency advice surgery is truly an attack on democracy.

“We must always remember David's dedicated service to his constituency and his country. He always had a beaming smile and a cheery comment.

“He was a real gentleman and a fine Parliamentarian. My thoughts and condolences go to all of his friends and family."

Talking about issues of MP security Theresa Villiers said that “terrible crimes” such as these act as a reminder of the vulnerability of MPs and their staff and urged all MPs to review their security arrangements.

She added: “I am determined to continue face to face contact with my constituents. This is a key part of our democracy but of course it is important to carry out those meetings as safely as possible."