I DIDN'T know David Amess well.

We probably talked a couple of dozen times in lifts, queues, or the Members’ Lobby. I remember him as a warm man with a ready smile.

We agreed on very little. Although I admired his passionate advocacy on behalf of animals, he was a Brexiteer and a social conservative. I doubt we were ever in the same lobby to vote.

Everyone knew that David wasn’t a sook.

Whips could find no blandishment which would persuade him to place party above conscience.

He didn’t care about promotion, which was just as well as he was never offered any. He cared about issues.

And, above all else, he cared about his constituents. He died doing what he loved most, helping those who had come to his weekly constituency surgery asking for help.

Most folk never contact their MP.

MPs can sometimes seem remote. People worry that if they voted for a different party their MP might not want to help them. And in any case, what’s the point? David knew that there was a point.

The best MPs are blind to party allegiance when helping constituents. We’ve no idea how people voted.

And we know that we are often the last port of call for constituents who desperately need help. We can’t solve every issue. But with our team of dedicated caseworkers, we try.

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been available for surgeries two days a week.

They’re mostly on Zoom, with some on the phone. People tell me they like the privacy involved.

And for me, it’s the most rewarding aspect of my job. That’s why, although there has been some talk since David’s death about curtailing or even halting surgeries, I intend to keep on doing them. And I know most of my colleagues, cross-party, feel the same.

There was an arrest made following David’s killing.

There will be a trial and so I can’t speculate on the motive of the man who ended his life so cruelly, leaving his wife and children bereft.

Many blame social media for the coarsening of language used in political debate, and for the increasing radicalisation of aspects of our public life.

It’s certainly true that disinformation is the scourge of our age. We know online abuse is at epidemic levels with women MPs targeted disproportionately.

And we know that children can now be bullied from the moment they get up in the morning until the moment they go to bed. In the Instagram era, there is no safe space.

As an MP sitting on the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Harms Bill, I’m working on ways to address these fundamental challenges to our social cohesion. We will be publishing our recommendations soon.

But with or without legislation we can all take a leaf out of David Amess’s book.

It has to be possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

As another murdered colleague Jo Cox famously said: "We have far more in common than that which divides us.”