It is hard to find the words to describe the horror of the senseless killing of Sir David Amess.

In the six-and-a-half years that I have been Sir David’s colleague in Parliament, I don’t think I’ve heard anybody – from any party – say a bad word about him.

He was a thoroughly nice, decent and hard-working person. He was exceptionally committed to trying to support his constituents and to promote his constituency, and it is especially shameful that he was murdered while he was trying to help others.

I was volunteering at Russells Hall Hospital as part of my annual Volunteering Week when the news of Sir David’s murder came through.

It was the last day of my volunteering week. Earlier in the week I had taken part in a local community clean-up in Kingswinford, joined the Canal & River Trust’s litter boat cleaning up the canal around Bumble Hole in Netherton, helped out at the Black Country Food Bank in Brierley Hill, and gone out with an ambulance crew on calls around the West Midlands.

The volunteering week helps me to learn more about the operation of charities, community groups and public services around Dudley South, and allows me to do what I can to help them and highlight the fantastic work done every day by amazing volunteers locally – as well as some of the opportunities available for people who would like to give some of their time to help our community by volunteering.

MPs regularly meeting and engaging with the people we are elected to represent is a fundamental part of our democracy.

It ensures we’re in touch with the issues that really matter to people – not just the stories which media broadcasters think stir up the most controversy. It helps ensure we are held accountable to those we represent – whether they voted for us or not. And above all, it ensures that those who are in desperate need of help have that one last person to turn to, sometimes in their darkest hour.

When something as tragic as Sir David’s murder happens, it is only natural to think over how it could possibly have been prevented.

In many other countries, MPs and elected representatives receive far higher levels of security than MPs and elected representatives in our country. But the sad truth is that this can make accessing an MP harder for those who are in genuine need of help, and, for the reasons I have mentioned above, can also be detrimental to the strength of a democracy.

I meet hundreds of constituents each year through constituency surgeries, my ‘Meet Mike’ summer tour of town centres and shopping areas across Dudley South, the Jobs and Skills Fairs I hold, and all kinds of events throughout the year.

While I welcome a review of MP security, as well as the security of others in public life, I would hate to think that I would meet with my constituents any less because of it.

Instead, I would much prefer we do what Sir David always did so reliably – fall back on our principles. Always be polite. Always stand up for what we believe in and try to convince others of it through debate rather than force. Always do what we can to help others. And never give in to those who would change our free way of life through the threat of violence.