Like all MPs past and present, I was horrified to discover that Sir David Amess had been murdered during one of his surgeries.

I knew David very well through our membership of various House of Commons committees and he was hard-working and well respected on all sides of the House.

I was in his office a lot through our shared interests and he was a very pleasant individual.

Over the years MPs had to put up with threats and intimidation either at surgeries, in the street or in public places.

It is something that you have to learn to live with, in order to make yourself available to the people who elect you.

You either believe in democracy, warts and all, or you end up like North Korea.

There have been suggestions that police officers should stand on guard at constituency surgeries but that shouldn’t happen.

Sir Brian Donohoe was an MP for 23 years, representing Cunninghame South and then Central ­Ayrshire until losing his seat in 2015.
Sir Brian Donohoe was an MP for 23 years, representing Cunninghame South and then Central ­Ayrshire until losing his seat in 2015.

I don’t think that would be the best use of police resources and I am not sure they would make a difference.

I don’t want to go back to the days when housing officers at Glasgow City Council offices had to sit behind bulletproof screens.

I used to have my surgeries every Friday morning and there was always the risk that someone could be waiting for me when I arrived.

However in a democracy like ours you just have to accept that.

We had all sorts of problems over the years with the windows of our offices being smashed and other vandalism.

They were put in a number of times and to this day I don’t know who was ­responsible, though I always had my suspicions. It never got to the stage of physical attacks though I once had a woman take her umbrella to me.

Because of my training in the police as a special constable I was able to grab hold of the woman and get her out of the office.

The flag being lowered above Downing Street after Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed.
The flag being lowered above Downing Street after Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed.

I’ve had other scary occasions as well and on one occasion had security in the room during a surgery.

I would also like to see MPs get some self defence training.

I always felt my training with the police gave me a chance if something happened.

I was shown how to deal with someone who might pull a knife or gun on me, for example.

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Many threats and ­intimidation of MPs now come from social media.

For that reason alone, I would caution a family member from getting involved in a career in politics or going to Parliament.

I would like to see the ­Government see sense and change the laws and rules over the use of social media.

Sir David Amess had been an MP since 1983.
Sir David Amess had been an MP since 1983.

In future anyone who posts on a particular site should put their name to it and provide their contact details ­including an address.

I believe that would see an end to the current levels of abuse.

If the trolls continue their behaviour then they should be ­immediately banned by the social media companies.

If they can pull a president of the United States, then they can suspend any idiot that is out there.

I would also recommend that all MPs be made to use an ­appointment systems to see constituents.

It was something that I did from day one when I began as an MP in 1992.

A police officer at the murder scene on Friday.
A police officer at the murder scene on Friday.

No one got near me unless they made an appointment.

That way I knew who I was seeing and what the position was likely to be.

An appointment system should be introduced immediately by the House of Commons rather than people just showing up in the day expecting to see their MP.

That way, you have the name and details of every individual that a member meets.

That and regulation of social media should be the two lessons we learn from Sir David’s needless and tragic death.