A CLOSE friend and former colleague has paid tribute to Sir David Amess – a ‘good soul’ and a ‘lovely human’.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning programme, Gyles Brandreth, 73, recalled feeling threatened himself as an MP and called for an end to online anonymity while remembering his ‘good friend’.

The former City of Chester MP, actor and broadcaster said: “I felt several times, under threat, and I was lucky that my constituency office was right next door to the headquarters of the police... Every MP has had this experience, of feeling threatened.”

However, Mr Brandreth said MPs meeting with constituents had to be preserved and voiced concerns over police being present at what is supposed to be an ‘intimate conversation’.

“The point is, it’s what makes our system unique. I don’t think there is one member of parliament who would want to see people on Zoom, or not to meet them, it’s the essence of the constituent MP,” he continued.

Paying tribute to Sir David Amess, the Southend West MP who was tragically stabbed to death on Friday, Mr Brandeth added: “David Amess was indeed a good friend of mine and a lovely human being, he had a good soul. You didn’t always agree with him, I certainly didn’t, but he always had a smile on his face, and he was a reminder of what backbenchers can achieve.

“All the coverage we get about politics now is what the Government is doing, but there are lots of backbenchers who are achieving a great deal and David was a wonderful example of that. His strength was that people knew him, and he knew people.”

Mr Brandreth called for the Government to tackle anonymous abuse on social media to de-escalate the ‘toxic discourse’ surrounding politics and make the job safer for MPs.