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Father of arrested suspect in British MP's slaying 'traumatized'

The father of a man held for the fatal stabbing of a British legislator during a meeting with local voters has told British media that he was shocked and "traumatized" by his son's arrest, as police continued questioning the suspect under terrorism laws.

Man in custody after attack on David Amess is son of former adviser to Somalia's PM

Police in London stand guard outside a house believed to be the address of a man arrested in connection with the killing of 69-year-old British MP David Amess. (Dominic Lipinski/Press Association/The Associated Press)

The father of a man held for the fatal stabbing of a British legislator during a meeting with local voters has told British media that he was shocked and "traumatized" by his son's arrest, as police continued questioning the suspect under terrorism laws.

Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Somalia's prime minister, said counterterrorism police had visited him, according to the Sunday Times.

"I'm feeling very traumatized. It's not something that I expected or even dreamed of," he was quoted as saying.

British authorities have not released the name of the suspect in the fatal stabbing of 69-year-old Conservative MP David Amess on Friday, but British media reported the suspect was Ali Harbi Ali, 25, believed to be a British citizen with Somali heritage.

Amess, shown in London in 2015, represented England's Southend West constituency. He was stabbed on Friday as he held a regular meeting with constituents in the town of Leigh-on-Sea. (Ian West/The Associated Press)

Amess, a long-serving legislator, was attacked during a regular meeting with his constituents at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, a town about 62 kilometres east of London.

The Metropolitan Police has described the attack as terrorism and said early investigations suggested "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

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It is unclear what, if any, the suspect's connection to Amess was.

Police have been granted extra time to question the suspect, who has not yet been charged. The BBC and others reported that some years ago, the suspect was referred to a government program aimed at preventing people from supporting extremism but said he was not a formal subject of interest for security services.

Many in the seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea have laid flowers in tribute to Amess, a father of five who has served in Parliament since 1983 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2015. A church service in the town was planned for later Sunday.

In north London, police investigating the killing continued to search an apartment and another address, as officers stood guard outside.

Concerns about risks to politicians

Friday's killing renewed concern about the risks politicians run as they go about their work. The attack came five years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far-right extremist in her constituency in West Yorkshire.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said Sunday officials are reviewing security arrangements for legislators but that she did not believe the killing of Amess should change the relationship between MPs and their voters.

Members of the Essex Bangladeshi Welfare Association pay their respects on Sunday next to floral tributes laid at the scene where Amess was stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church, in Leigh-on-Sea. (Chris Radburn/Reuters)

"This should never, ever break that link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them," she told Sky News on Sunday.

Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was working closely with the Home Office and the police to identify ways to improve lawmakers' safety. But, like Patel, he said that "we should not hide away."

The Council of Somali Organizations, which works with Somali communities across the U.K., condemned the killing, saying it was an "affront to all of our values and our democratic society itself."

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