MP Kevin Foster: Extremists will not deter me from meeting those I represent

A candle and a photo at a vigil for Sir David Amess, who died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery

A candle and a photo at a vigil at St Michael and All Angels church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, for Sir David Amess, who died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery - Credit: PA

Last week saw democracy itself come under attack when a friend and colleague, Sir David Amess, was stabbed at his constituency surgery.

David sadly died at the scene from his injuries.

I know all Torbay Weekly readers will be thinking of his family and loved ones at this difficult time.

I have been thinking of the many kind words and bits of advice David shared with me over the last six years.

We had got on well since I arrived at Westminster in 2015, with us both being part of the 'Blue Fox' group, the term for those Conservative MPs who support the ban on fox hunting.

He died doing what he had devoted nearly 40 years of his life to, serving his constituents.

Inevitably some have asked what this means for accessibility to MPs.

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Conducting constituency surgeries is a core part of the role, being accessible to those who may need your urgent help; hence David was doing his and I will continue doing mine.

Inevitably there will be a review of what can be done, but it is simply not practical to have airport-style security, which we sadly need to have at the Houses of Parliament, when out and about in the community you represent, including in the church halls I use for some of my surgeries.

My team do have to deal with a minority who believe they are entitled to abuse them when doing their jobs, but we have received excellent support from our local policing teams in response.

Most residents we deal with, including those who would never support my political party, are polite and a pleasure to deal with.

A small minority of extremists will not deter me from doing my work on behalf of our Bay or from meeting those I represent.

Self-Isolation 

The last week has had a sense of Groundhog Day to it as I had to self-isolate following testing positive for Covid-19.

Given how much I get out and about normally, it seemed odd staying home for so long. 

Hazel, my wife, had tested positive a few days before, so having looked after her for a few days it was not a big surprise to have picked it up myself.

After the last year it was easy to quickly shift a planned Ministerial visit to Cornwall to a 'virtual' one, along with some meetings here in the Bay.

The requirement to self-isolate meant I could not attend parliament this week but with my period staying home set to end at 23:59 today (Thursday, October 21), I am looking forward to being out in our Bay this weekend.

Surgery times

My next surgeries are Saturday, October 30, 11am to 1pm at Paignton Library and Information Centre, Great Western Road TQ4 5AG and Friday, November 5, 3pm to 5pm at Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner St, Paignton TQ3 3BN.

Sadly, my surgeries must remain appointment only at this stage given the prevailing public health guidance.

For an appointment you can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989.

You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.