I am still trying to comprehend the death of my colleague Sir David Amess two weeks ago. And because the matter is now before the courts, I am constrained in what I am allowed to write.

He genuinely was the man described by so many: warm, friendly, supportive. And although politically the opposite of me, he never allowed politics to get in the way of friendship. Like most MPs, I liked David very much, respected his decency, and at several points benefitted from his kindness and his advice borne of decades of experience in the Commons.

I find it particularly horrifying that someone who was so very gentle should die in such a violent manner.

David’s campaign to win city status for Southend on Sea became legendary in Westminster. When you speak in the Commons it must be relevant to the subject at hand; rarely can you just stand up and speak about anything you want.

Yet he always managed to squeeze in Southend’s bid to be a city, regardless of what was being debated, and he always stayed within the rules so the Speaker did not have to stop him. We knew when he stood up to speak, with the big smile he was known for, exactly what he was about to ask. The fun was in working out how he would make it relevant. And he always did.

I am delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has granted city status to Southend in his honour.

David died at his constituency surgery. These are an essential part of the work of every MP. The relationship between MP and constituency is central to how our democracy works. The MP must be available to his or her constituents and in fact it is a really good way to stay in touch with what people are thinking.

During the pandemic I have been operating phone and video surgeries. I will definitely be going back to in-person meetings but will follow police advice on these following the attack on David. Yet I am sure no MP will be deterred from meeting and serving their constituents by threats of terrorism.


I was touched and very grateful for the many messages I received offering support and condolences after David died and I will pass these on. There are questions about how we go forward and how our democracy responds to this attack. But for now, I am just filled with sadness for the loss of a warm and generous and decent man.

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