‘David died doing the job he loved’ MPs 'united in sadness' after death of Sir David Amess

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said MPs are “united in sadness” as politicians paid tribute to Sir David Amess.
David Amess with his dogs Lilly and Bo. Tributes have been paid from across the political spectrumDavid Amess with his dogs Lilly and Bo. Tributes have been paid from across the political spectrum
David Amess with his dogs Lilly and Bo. Tributes have been paid from across the political spectrum

Sir David was described as a “true parliamentarian” and a “true gent” while a former Prime Minister reflected on “a tragic day for our democracy”.

The 69-year-old Tory veteran, who had been an MP since 1983, commanded respect from across the House. And yesterday they joined together in grief and shock.

Mr Blackford called the news “utterly devastating”.

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He said: “My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, staff team and all his loved ones at this dreadful time. May he rest in peace.

"Sir David was a thoroughly decent man, who was well liked across parties and the House of Commons.

“All of us are appalled at this barbaric attack, which was as senseless as it was cowardly.

"In recent years, we have seen increasingly unacceptable levels of abuse and intimidation aimed at MPs, parliamentary staff and public figures.

“At its worst, this has resulted in violent attacks on multiple MPs and the murder of Jo Cox and now Sir David Amess.

"All of us are united in sadness today and in calling for an end to this abuse, intimidation and violence. It is a threat to our democracy - and it has to stop."

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The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer MP said it was a “dark and shocking day”.

He continued: “My heart goes out to David’s wife and children, his staff, friends and constituents.

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“The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before.

“Above all else, today I am thinking of David, of the dedicated public servant that he was and of the depth of positive impact he had for the people he represented.

"Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first-hand in Parliament.

"His Catholicism was central to his political life and he was highly respected across Parliament, within the church and in the Christian community.

“Let us come together in response to these horrendous events. We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said he was “shocked and devastated”.

He continued: “David was an outstanding MP, a great colleague and someone I was proud to call a friend.

“I’ve just returned from Qatar as part of a Parliamentary delegation that David led. It was a privilege to spend the last week with him.

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“Not only was David professional and knowledgeable on the visits, but he was also great company to share time with.

“When I was first elected as an MP in 2017, David’s office was just two doors down from mine, and he did everything he could to make me feel welcome and supported in Westminster.

“David died doing the job he loved, helping his constituents and carrying out his public duty. A duty he has carried out for the last 38 years he has been a member of Parliament.

“I am at a complete loss for words to describe this tragedy – and I offer my prayers and heartfelt condolences to David’s wife Julia and his five children.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone who had the honour of knowing him.”

Former Conservative prime minister Theresa May tweeted: “A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties.

“A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.”

Sir David served initially as MP in Basildon from 1983 before he took on the role of representing Southend West from 1997.

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He regarded his main interests and areas of expertise as “animal welfare and pro-life” issues.

But his campaigning efforts in the House of Commons in recent years were most closely associated with the Essex coastal town.

Sir David, who was married with four daughters and a son, was not shy in ensuring questions he asked of Government ministers also included his long-running campaign to make Southend a city.

In December 2019, he secured an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the campaign and he told MPs: “I am not messing around.

“We have got it from the Prime Minister that Southend is going to become a city – and it will become a city.”

Community spirit, the proposed marina and the airport were among his arguments.

As a strident supporter of the British monarchy, Sir David saw another opportunity in November 2020 as the Commons considered plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

He asked for a new statue of the Queen and for a city status competition to elevate Southend’s status.

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In March 2021, Sir David repeated his statue calls – insisting the Queen deserved one for being a “great” monarch.

His campaign for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs of Dover also won support from a minister in May this year.

Away from his campaigning, Sir David announced in December 2019 that he would run to be one of the three deputy speakers in the House of Commons.

He ultimately missed out and continued with his support for Brexit.

On December 30 last year, he posted a photo of a cardboard cut-out of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on Twitter.

He wrote: “Whilst Margaret didn’t live long enough to see this day, I am sure that she is rejoicing in heaven. At last we ‘got Brexit done’!”



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