I know that you will all wish to join me in expressing heartfelt condolences to Jo Cox's family and friends. Murder can never be condoned, but the murder of a Member of Parliament going about her lawful business of representing her constituents is especially shocking, and is an attack on the parliamentary democracy that means so much to us all.
On Wednesday evening, along with my good friend, Jim Carver MEP, I took part in an excellent BBC Hereford and Worcester debate against Mark Garnier MP and Emma Reynolds MP. Despite our strongly differing views, the debate was conducted in a friendly, civilised fashion. That is the British way, and long may it remain so.
I well recall my horror at learning, on 29 January 2000, that my then MP, Nigel Jones had been attacked with a samurai sword in his constituency office in Cheltenham - an attack in which Andrew Pennington, a Liberal Democrat Councillor was murdered.
Yesterday evening I reminisced with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP about the horrific attempt to wipe out the Prime Minister and much of her cabinet at the Grand Hotel, Brighton in October 1984. Margaret Thatcher then famously said to John Sergeant, "The Conference will go on. The conference will go on, as usual." That was, surely, the correct response, and one that, after a judicious pause for reflection, we should follow next week as we focus, in sombre and serious mien, on the momentous referendum ahead.
The Freedom Association