Sir David Amess: MP remembered in emotional church service

·29-min read
Sir David Amess: MP remembered in emotional church service

Tributes flowed for killed MP Sir David Amess on Monday after he was fatally stabbed on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a sombre procession of around 800 politicians to a church service to remember Sir David on Monday evening.

Earlier on, MPs from across the United Kingdom were travelling to the Commons where they shared their memories of the Conservative MP for Southend West in the House of Commons.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle led tributes to Sir David stressing his death has united MPs in grief and determination to defend democracy.

Follow the tributes as they happened below

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Monday 18 October 2021 13:25 , Lily Waddell

Sir Lindsay Hoyle leads tributes to Sir David Amess

Sir Lindsay told how the last few days had been the “darkest weekend” after the fatal stabbing of the Tory MP for Southend West on Friday.

“David was a great friend to all of us,” he said, speaking on LBC Radio.

“Sir David brought warmth. He was a politician that loved his job, he got the best out of the job, that’s why he got so much out of constituents who loved him.

“He was popular all across the House. He has done something that we would all love to do...he has united politicians and brought us together not just in grief but making sure that the democratic process survives.”

The Speaker emphasised: “My thoughts are with his wife Julia and family.

“It’s the darkest weekend I have had.”

Appealing for the killing to lead to a change in politics without the “hate and nastiness”, he added: “Today we can have a fresh start.

“Today we can have a legacy to Sir David where we have nice politics, a nicer Parliament, nicer politics across the world.

“We need to come together, think about the language we use.

“Let’s have political differences. I’m there to referee that but what we don’t need is the hate and the nastiness because if we are kinder to each other the public will be kinder, and the media of course has got a role to play in that.”

Sir David Amess’ family read floral tributes left for murdered MP

Monday 18 October 2021 14:40 , Laura Sharman

The family of Sir David Amess comforted each other as they read messages on floral tributes left outside the church where the Conservative MP was stabbed to death.

Sir David‘s widow Julia wiped tears from her eyes on the visit to Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex on Monday morning.

The group of six put their arms around one another and held hands as they looked through the messages that people had written.

Julia Amess the widow of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, looks towards the Rev Clifford Newman of Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)
Julia Amess the widow of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, looks towards the Rev Clifford Newman of Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)

Accompanied by the church’s minister Clifford Newman, they later bowed their heads and formed a semi-circle around the churchman as he gave a short private address.

Mr Clifford hugged Lady Julia afterwards, speaking to other members of the group and shaking their hands as they departed.

Julia Amess (second right) the widow of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, arrives with friends and family members to view flowers left for her late husband at Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)
Julia Amess (second right) the widow of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, arrives with friends and family members to view flowers left for her late husband at Belfairs Methodist Church (PA)

House of Commons observes moment of silence for Sir David Amess

Monday 18 October 2021 14:42 , Lily Waddell

The House of Commons has observed a minute’s silence in memory of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

It took place at the start of business on Monday after prayers.

The Speaker’s chaplain, Tricia Hillas, told the chamber: “May the bright memory of his rich life ever outshine the tragic manner of his death.”

The moment of silence took place at the start of business on Monday after prayers (Sky News)
The moment of silence took place at the start of business on Monday after prayers (Sky News)

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle comments on "despicable” death

Monday 18 October 2021 14:51 , Laura Sharman

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle opening business in the chamber and addressed the House following a minute’s silence to remember Sir David Amess.

“The circumstances of Sir David’s death are despicable and raise the most fundamental issues about how members of this House are able to perform their vital democratic responsibilities safely and securely,” he said.

“In light of the ongoing police investigation I will not say more about the events, but I give the House my undertaking I will do everything in my power to ensure that these issues are treated with urgency and with the sense of priority that they deserve.”

Sir Lindsay also acknowledged the death of Conservative MP and former cabinet minister James Brokenshire who died aged 53 following his battle with lung cancer.

Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, asks for a minutes silence in the chamber of the House of Commons, Westminster as MPs gather to pay tribute to Conservative MP Sir David Amess (PA)
Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, asks for a minutes silence in the chamber of the House of Commons, Westminster as MPs gather to pay tribute to Conservative MP Sir David Amess (PA)

Parliament: “Many many members want to speak” following death of Sir David Amess

Monday 18 October 2021 15:04 , Laura Sharman

Sir Lindsay said the House of Commons wishes to pay tribute to both James Brokenshire and Sir David Amess and that “many, many members want to speak.”

Tributes can be made to Mr Brokenshire, former MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Monday’s plans of business in the chamber in Westminster Hall will be replaced with Home Office questions followed by MP tributes to Sir David, MP for Southend West.

A service will be held to commemorate Sir David at St Margaret’s Church at 6pm and the House will adjourn at 5.30pm in time for MPs to attend.

Sir Lindsay said a book of condolence will also be left for members to sign.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle addresses lawmakers in the House of Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle addresses lawmakers in the House of Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Parliament: “Many many members want to speak” following death of Sir David Amess

Monday 18 October 2021 15:04 , Laura Sharman

Sir Lindsay said the House of Commons wishes to pay tribute to both James Brokenshire and Sir David Amess and that “many, many members want to speak.”

Tributes can be made to Mr Brokenshire, former MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Monday’s plans of business in the chamber in Westminster Hall will be replaced with Home Office questions followed by MP tributes to Sir David, MP for Southend West.

A service will be held to commemorate Sir David at St Margaret’s Church at 6pm and the House will adjourn at 5.30pm in time for MPs to attend.

Sir Lindsay said a book of condolence will also be left for members to sign.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle addresses lawmakers in the House of Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle addresses lawmakers in the House of Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Priti Patel shares thoughts for Sir David’s wife and family following MP death

Monday 18 October 2021 15:07 , Laura Sharman

Speaking in the Commons, Home Secretary Priti Patel said of Sir David Amess: “His killing is a terrible and sad moment in our history, an attack on our democracy and an appalling tragedy.

“We are all thinking of David, Julia and their family.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel (Sky News)
Home Secretary Priti Patel (Sky News)

Home Secretary condemns “extremely dangerous” protests

Monday 18 October 2021 15:10 , Laura Sharman

Ms Patel continued: “These protests are extremely dangerous. They have caused great economic harm.

“They have caused misery and distress of the law abiding public and they have also prevented members of the public from going about their daily business.”

MP calls for government safety review

Monday 18 October 2021 15:16 , Laura Sharman

Sheryll Murray called for the government to review its safety procedures for all those in public facing roles.

The Conservative MP for South East Cornwall referred to her late colleague Sir David Amess as “the most excellent fellow” when addressing the House on Monday.

“On Friday we saw the worst kind of illegal protest where my good friend was stabbed as he did his job,” she said.

“I know sadly on this occasion it was one of our colleagues but will the government review how we help to keep those safe all of those people who work in public facing roles?”

Priti Patel echoes calls for government review on safety

Monday 18 October 2021 15:20 , Laura Sharman

Priti Patel told the Commons she echoed calls for a government safety review on all workers in public facing roles.

“We have a duty and a responsibility and there is a great deal of work taking place right now with our police forces across the country to do exactly that.”

The Home Secretary advised to expect updates over the coming days particularly for MPs and for members of the public in terms of wider protection.

Chris Bryant speaks out on vile abuse and "toxic way of doing politics”

Monday 18 October 2021 15:29 , Laura Sharman

Chris Bryant asked the House to consider its “toxic way of doing politics” following the death of Sir David Amess.

The Labour MP for Rhondda, South Wales, raised the point of how to judge the boundary between legal and illegal protests.

“Some people protesting online use vile abuse. They think that is perfectly justifiable,” he said.

“We seem to have developed a toxic way of doing our politics. How do we simply change that so that we become a bit more like Sir David?”

Mr Bryant paid tribute to his late colleague who previously voted against same-sex marriage.

“I never managed to persuade him to support gay marriage but he always asked after my husband and I think that was the character of the man,” he said.

Labour MP Chris Bryant (PA Media)
Labour MP Chris Bryant (PA Media)

Priti Patel responds to online cruelty

Monday 18 October 2021 15:32 , Laura Sharman

Home Secretary Priti Patel said “we see far too much cruelty online” as she spoke of the importance of respect.

Responding to Mr Bryant, she said: “He raises, I think, something that has just been captured by the mood of the nation around the discourse that we have in public life.

“Clearly the online space, we see far too much cruelty online and I think all of use have a responsibility and a duty to work together. I do think working together is part of the solution here.

“When it comes to this place and to public life and politics, I would use one word and that is respect.”

PM begins address to the Commons

Monday 18 October 2021 15:41 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has begun his address to the House of Commons.

The prime minister said: “The passing of 72 hours has done little to numb the shock and sadness we all feel when we heard of this tragic and senseless killing.

“We have lost a dear friend and colleague, and Julia has lost husband and their children a devoted father.

“Nothing I can say can lessen the pain and grief they feel at these darkest of times.”

PM hails Sir David’s ‘lifetime of public service’

Monday 18 October 2021 15:45 , Daniel Keane

The prime minister paid tribute to Sir David Amess’ work in the community and his “lifetime of public service”.

He said: “Even after the murder of Jo Cox, he refused to accept that he should be in any way deterred from speaking face-to-face with his constituents.

“When he died, he was doing firmly what he believed was the job of an MP: offering help to those who need.

“This country needs people like Sir David, and our politics needs people like Sir David.”

Boris Johnson paid tribute to Sir David Amess (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson paid tribute to Sir David Amess (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Starmer pays tribute to Sir David’s ‘decency’

Monday 18 October 2021 15:48 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir Starmer is now addressing the Commons, and has paid tribute to Sir David’s decency.

The Labour leader told the House: “We are thinking of David and his family. We are thinking again of Jo Cox, who was killed five years ago.

“I know the honourable members will have spent the weekend worrying for their own safety.

“Today on behalf of the entire Labour party, I want to reach across and acknowledge the pain that is felt on the opposite benches.

“Of course our differences matter, but today we are reminded that what we have in common matters far more.”

Southend to be given city status, PM announces

Monday 18 October 2021 15:53 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has announced that the Queen has agreed Southend will be granted city status following the murder of Sir David Amess.

It follows a long-running campaign led by Sir David to see the Essex town become a city.

The PM said: “He never once witnessed any achievement by any resident of Southend that could not could not somehow be cited in his bid to secure city status for that distinguished town.

“He was not a man in awe of this chamber, nor a man who sought patronage or advancement, he simply wanted to serve the people of Essex. First in Basildon and then in Southend.”

‘Enough is enough’, says Mark Francois

Monday 18 October 2021 15:59 , Daniel Keane

Mark Francois has called for MPs to toughen up the Online Harms bill with a new ‘David’s Law’ to ban anonymous social media accounts from spreading hate towards politicians.

The MP for Rayleigh and Wickford told the Commons: “Let’s do it for all those other people who hold surgeries who are being vilified online and loyal receptionists and staff for trying to do their job.

“If the social media companies don’t want to help us drain the Twitter swamp, then let’s compel them to do it by law.

“What better way to ensure that a fine Parliamentarian did not die in vain?”

Award of city status to Southend was ‘rare honour’

Monday 18 October 2021 16:08 , Daniel Keane

Downing Street has said the award of city status to Southend was a “very rare honour”.

“This was an exceptional circumstance,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“It is a very rare honour which Sir David campaigned passionately for.

“He was a tireless champion of Southend, celebrating its achievements, the work of its residents and its thriving local businesses and diversity.”

Tory MP says it’s 'unbelievable he’s not coming back’

Monday 18 October 2021 16:13 , Daniel Keane

James Duddridge, the Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, has paid an emotional tribute to his close friend Sir David Amess.

He said: “I think of the last meeting with him, the last time we spent Christmas together... It’s unbelievable he’s not coming back.

“But this is not the last of David. He lives on in us all.

“I don’t think he would have thought about himself as a mentor to this House but that is what he was, by osmosis.

“To Julia, Southend thanks your husband for his service. Rest in peace my good friend.”

Sir Ed Davey says Amess was ‘kind’ and ‘spoke with compassion’

Monday 18 October 2021 16:23 , Daniel Keane

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that Sir David Amess was a “kind” person and that Lib Dem councillors had spoken highly of him.

He said: “The grief, the sadness and the shock we are all feeling unites us today.

“Like the leader of the Opposition, I want to reach across the aisle and say: ‘We feel for you’.

“David’s wonderful friendliness and campaigns that bridged the political divide were special. He always spoke with compassion, authority and often humour.

“He will always be deeply connected to Southend’s past and future.”

He added: “We don’t have to agree with each other across our political divides, but we can learn to be kind and warm when we disagree.”

May says there was ‘always laughter, always smiles’ with Sir David

Monday 18 October 2021 16:37 , Daniel Keane

Former prime minister Theresa May says “there was always laughter, always smiles” around MP David Amess.

Mrs May paid tribute to Sir David’s “extraordinary record of dedicated service” - urging other MPs to follow his example in their own constituencies.

She added: “Isn’t it fitting, that his last acts were acts of service to his constituents.”

Monday 18 October 2021 16:46 , Lily Waddell

Theresa May says every MP has ‘lost a friend’

She said: “Laughter, service, compassion – these are three of the words that spring to my mind when I think of Davis Amess.

“Laughter because you could never have a conversation with David without laughter and smiling, whether it was because of one of the outrageous stories he was telling – perhaps about one of his colleagues or somebody else – but there were always smiles, always laughter, always fun around David.”

The Conservative former prime minister said Sir David gave an “extraordinary” service to his constituents.

She added: “I suggest to anybody who wants to be a first-class constituency MP that you look at the example of David Amess.”

She concluded: “His compassion made a difference to people outside of this House, his kindness made a difference inside this House. Our thoughts and prayers are with Julia and the family. Their loss is devastating.

“His constituency has lost a much respected and loved Member of Parliament. This House has lost a remarkable and valued parliamentarian, and every member of this House has lost a friend. May he rest in peace.”

Monday 18 October 2021 16:52 , Lily Waddell

Sir David died doing what he loved, MP says

Mike Kane - who is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as Member of Parliament for Wythenshawe and Sale East - paid tribute to Sir David.

“He died as being said doing the things he loved, helping constituents,” he said.

“Sir David, may the choir of angels come to greet you, may the lord grant you eternal life and eternal rest. Let perpetual light shine upon him rest in peace.”

Monday 18 October 2021 17:06 , Lily Waddell

‘Sir David sacrificed everything to put his constituency first’

Andrew Rosindell, who is a British Conservative politician, said: “He was so dedicated to his constituency, he lived for them. He did sacrifice everything to put his constituency first. The one legacy we must hold true to David is to not let his horrific murder, the horrific way he left us, to change our democracy.

“I remember the appalling Grand Hotel bombing in 1984 I remember Margaret Thatcher - and he was a dedicated supporter of Margaret Thatcher - I remember her saying it’s business as usual. We must carry on.

“Whatever happens, whatever we do to carry on and protect ourselves. we must not let our democracy be underlined by that kind of evil. We must defend and cherish the freedoms.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford pays tribute

Monday 18 October 2021 17:15 , Lizzie Edmonds

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford described the loss of Sir David Amess as “devastating” and said it had “once again” laid bare the “twin threat” of terrorism and “the toxic culture of hate and intolerance that has become all too common”.

He said in the Commons: “For too long we have been dragged down a path where passionate disagreement has been infected by poison. All of us can do better not to feed into that corrosive culture. All of us have been a victim of it, and every single one of us have a responsibility to put an end to it.”

Chairman of Southend United Football Club pays respect

Monday 18 October 2021 17:16 , Lizzie Edmonds

Ron Martin, chairman of Southend United Football Club, said: “Sir David worked tirelessly over many, many years for the town to be granted city status, and wonderful that his efforts have been recognised. A truly fitting tribute and lasting legacy.”

Meanwhile, the Green Party confirmed it would not stand in the by-election in Southend West which will be triggered following the killing of Sir David Amess.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have already indicated they will stand aside in the contest out of respect for the murdered Conservative MP.

Monday 18 October 2021 17:18 , Lizzie Edmonds

Sir Iain Duncan Smith calls Sir David Amess “generous and kind” to colleagues, saying his late colleague had a “mega-watt smile”.

The former Conservative Party leader sais there “wasn’t an alliance that [Sir David] couldn’t form” with fellow MPs on any issue, telling the Commons: “He will be with us forever.”

More tributes pour in

Monday 18 October 2021 17:29 , Lizzie Edmonds

Labour MP Yvette Cooper says Sir David was a “knight in shining armour for so many of his constituents.”

Meanwhile, The Mayor of Southend, Councillor Margaret Borton, said: “Hearing the announcement from the Prime Minister today is a sombre but special moment. For the borough to achieve city status is testament to how loved and well-respected Sir David was.

“My only wish is that Sir David could have seen this moment himself, because it has brought years of his tireless campaigning to fruition. I hope that this announcement will highlight the legacy that Sir David leaves us.”

The Archbishop of York speaks about his friend Sir David

Monday 18 October 2021 17:40 , Lizzie Edmonds

Sir David Amess did not wear his faith on his sleeve but in his heart, which was the best place because there “it shapes everything”, the Archbishop of York, who was a friend of the late MP, has said.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, who is from Leigh-on-Sea and grew up in Southend, was among those to pay tribute in the House of Lords to Sir David, who was killed in a knife attack on Friday.

He told a sombre upper chamber: “This appalling murder happened in streets I know well, just around the corner from where my mum lives.”

When he was appointed to his previous role as the Bishop of Chelmsford, Mr Cottrell said Sir David had been one of the first to congratulate him.

He added: “When I was translated to York, it was the same. He thought this was another way of putting Southend on the map. The boy who went to a secondary modern school in Southend was now the 98th Archbishop of York. He was so pleased.”

The Archbishop added: “I reckon that now Southend has been declared a city today, forget about a statue of Vera Lynn at Dover, we are going to put a statue of David Amess at the end of Southend pier.”

He told the Lords that Christian love “was the source and substance of David Amess’s vision and values”.

He said: “It was this that enabled him to reach across party political divides, get on well with everyone, exhibit a good humour, generosity and a kindness that is sadly, sadly often woefully lacking in public and political discourse today.

“It’s because Sir David Amess so exemplified those things, regardless of what his politics happened to be, and that is the reason why we are so easily able to come together and remember him, esteem his contribution to public life, mourn his death but not be defeated by the hatred that killed him.”

The Labour MP Kim Leadbeater describes the “rollercoaster of deep trauma” following death of sister Jo Cox

Monday 18 October 2021 17:42 , Lizzie Edmonds

The Labour MP Kim Leadbeater has recalled the moment she was told her sister Jo Cox had been attacked, and described the “rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience”.

Speaking in the Commons, she said she did not know Sir David Amess personally, but said he “was clearly a well-respected and much loved colleague to many people in this place”.

She said: “It’s been a traumatic few days for many people, none more so than David’s family and friends, and it’s they who remain at the forefront of my mind this afternoon.

“But sadly I know from my own all-too-similar experience that in reality there is nothing anyone can say to make things all right for them. But nor is it any use to stay silent.

“I do have a unique perspective on what those closest to David are going through and I want to send them my love, support and solidarity, from myself, my parents, our family, and the people of Batley and Spen.

“I have blocked out much of what happened when Jo was murdered, but I remember very clearly the moment I took the phone call saying she had been attacked. I remember physically trembling, and the visceral pain that overtook me.

“And it breaks my heart to think that another family has had to experience that phone call, and the nightmare which follows. It’s a rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience.”

Ms Leadbeater said she hoped the tributes will “provide a morsel of comfort amidst their pain”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads a sombre procession

Monday 18 October 2021 17:53 , Lizzie Edmonds

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has led a sombre procession of around 800 politicians as they filed in to a church service to remember their murdered colleague, Sir David Amess.

Wearing black suits, dresses, and face coverings, the MPs and peers walked from Parliament to St Margaret’s Church in Westminster Abbey, central London.

Ministers followed Mr Johnson and took their seats in the pews while organ music filled the church.

St Margaret’s Consort, conducted by Greg Morris, performed songs including Nimrod by Edward Elgar and Psalm Prelude by Herbert Howells.

 (PA)
(PA)

Labour MP Stephen Timms: ‘We mustn’t give up on the accessibility of members of Parliament'

Monday 18 October 2021 17:56 , Lizzie Edmonds

Labour MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed during one of his constituency surgeries in 2010, said “we mustn’t give up on the accessibility of members of Parliament”.

Mr Timms said of Sir David Amess in the Commons: “He was accessible to his constituents. Tragically he has now given his life. We will rightly reflect on what more we can do to stop that happening again. I wonder if we might ask the police to review our appointment lists ahead of each surgery, for example?

“But we mustn’t give up on the accessibility of Members of Parliament. If we do, the sponsors of those who attacked David and who attacked me will have succeeded. That must not happen.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) said: “Jo (Cox) said to us we have more in common than that which divides us. David showed us how to do that, because whilst he had disagreements with pretty much every one of us, he also had the unerring instinct of finding what it was he had in common with each and every one of us as well.”

Conservative and fellow Essex MP John Whittingdale (Maldon) said he is “delighted” that Essex now has two cities. He added later in his speech: “David was quite simply the best of us.”

A look at the order of service

Monday 18 October 2021 18:00 , Lizzie Edmonds

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer pictured in the church

Monday 18 October 2021 18:03 , Lizzie Edmonds

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and SNP Wesminster leader Ian Blackford attend a service to honour Sir David Amess at the Church of St Margaret, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and SNP Wesminster leader Ian Blackford attend a service to honour Sir David Amess at the Church of St Margaret, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey (PA)

Sir David Amess leads tributes in the House of Lords

Monday 18 October 2021 18:09 , Lizzie Edmonds

Leading tributes to Sir David Amess in the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker Lord McFall of Alcluith, said the MP “had an ability to make every encounter bright”.

He said: “Sir David was not a member of this House but he was one of us, he was true parliamentarian.

“He was also an exemplar of decency and courtesy.”

He added: “David relished working across the party divides, he was not tribal.

“He could never be accused of being remote or detached.”

The former MP added: “Not once did I meet him in these corridors over the 34 years we served together without being met with an enormous smile as he bounded towards me with a spring in his step.

“He had an ability to make every encounter bright, something which reminded me time and time again of the inherent goodness of humanity.”

Lord Clarke of Nottingham said that despite disagreeing with Sir David Amess on a number of issues, such as leaving the European Union, the late Southend West MP did not allow political disagreement to interfere with personal friendship.

The Tory former Chancellor told the House of Lords: “I too was a Conservative and it can’t be said that David and I were on the same wing of the Conservative Party.

“He was a very, very fierce eurosceptic; he was a great supporter of capital punishment, which I do not share, but he was one of that group and it’s the majority of British politicians who would never have dreamed of allowing political disagreement to interfere with personal friendship, who actually respected the true right to free speech, which is that you respect the integrity and the sincerity of the person in whom you’re having an argument, and you maintain civilised dialogue in a free society.”

On the debate around MP security, he claimed that whereas the IRA were at least “predictable” with their determination to use terrorism and violence to advance their political agenda, nowadays it is “loners, fanatics, madmen” and it is therefore “very difficult to guarantee security against such people”.

He added: “I think the deteriorating tone of debate over the last 10-20 years is somehow encouraging these mad loners to start emerging and becoming active.

“The absurd cynicism of the public towards the political class. You tell them that those MPs are all crooks, only here for what they’re getting out of it, it doesn’t matter who you vote for… it would appear a majority of the population would in casual conversation agree to that, which is a bizarre and ridiculous untrue allegation.”

Pictures from the service at the Church of St Margaret

Monday 18 October 2021 18:12 , Lizzie Edmonds

MPs and peers attend a service to honour Sir David Ames (PA)
MPs and peers attend a service to honour Sir David Ames (PA)
MP Matt Hancock arrives at The Church of St Margaret (PA)
MP Matt Hancock arrives at The Church of St Margaret (PA)
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lisa Nandy (Getty Images)
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lisa Nandy (Getty Images)
Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle (PA)
Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle (PA)
Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt (Getty Images)
Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt (Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey (Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey (Getty Images)
Chief Whip Mark Spencer (Getty Images)
Chief Whip Mark Spencer (Getty Images)

Monday 18 October 2021 18:21 , Lizzie Edmonds

MPs from all parties have sung a hymn at the Westminster service to remember their murdered colleague Sir David Amess.

The hymn, Eventide, followed an address by The Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon of Westminster, who welcomed the politicians to pray for Sir David’s family.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, has read a passage from the Bible, Thessalonians 4:13, at the service for Sir David Amess.

Wearing a long black coat, suit and tie, he addressed hundreds of his grieving colleagues, before they rose to sing another hymn.

 (PA)
(PA)

Monday 18 October 2021 18:25 , Lizzie Edmonds

The Archbishop of Canterbury remembered the murdered MP.

Speaking at the service Justin Welby said: “In this great tragedy, there is a unanimous conviction amongst all who knew him that Sir David was of the best; eloquent contributions in both the House of Commons and and House of Lords have spoken of his character, a friend to his constituents and to his constituency; a wholehearted supporter of causes from city status for Southend to great causes for the future of our nation around Brexit, and all with a robust fairness of spirit and charity of heart that won the admiration and affection of all sides, regardless of whether they agreed with him politically or not.

“It was a charity of heart that came from his deep Catholic Christian faith, that was mentioned by so many.

“He was of the best, and his name will be remembered with Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Anthony Berry, Ian Gow and Jo Cox, those MPs murdered since 1945, and others – like Andrew Pennington – who have died in the course of public service.

“Public service in politics is a sacrifice that should be honoured and respected, even when differences of opinion run very deep indeed.”

MPs kneel for prayers

Monday 18 October 2021 18:42 , Lizzie Edmonds

MPs knelt during prayers for their murdered colleague Sir David Amess, read by the Bishop of Durham Paul Butler and the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell Sir David.

Mr Cottrell remembered Sir David for his “determination to help” others, especially through supporting people with disabilities and campaigning for animal rights.

He told the congregation: “Let us pray for those causes closest to David’s heart: for the support of those living with disability, for the humane treatment of animals, for decency in public life and discourse.

“Let us give thanks for his care of individuals, his ability to listen, and his determination to help.”

Former MP Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Monday 18 October 2021 18:57 , Lizzie Edmonds

Former MP Lord Jones of Cheltenham, who was severely injured in a sword attack at his constituency office that left his assistant, Andrew Pennington, dead, has stressed the importance of politicians being able to meet the public face to face.

In a tribute read out on his behalf by fellow Liberal Democrat Baroness Brinton in the House of Lords, the peer described the murder of his “mate” Sir David Amess, as “the most unimaginable shock”.

He said: “I simply can’t believe that this has happened again and to the kindest and most decent of men.

“He was a mate, David. We were on opposite sides of every debate. He voted the wrong way on most things and disagreed with me on just about everything. We were in different parties, but always got on well.

“We was a wonderful personality and worked exceptionally hard for his constituents.

“He was a proper parliamentarian, a dedicated public servant and a lovely man.”

Lord Jones added: “David, like my friend Andy Pennington and I, was just trying to do the job to the best of his ability.

“Our democracy relies on an open channel between those in power and the people who we represent. It’s vital to be able to meet people face to face so they can feel we are here and working for them.”

Emotional service ends

Monday 18 October 2021 19:08 , Lizzie Edmonds

MPs and peers from all parties have begun leaving St Margaret’s following an emotional service held in tribute to their murdered colleague Sir David Amess.

As organ music filled the church, the Prime Minister led his colleagues out in sombre procession.

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, who is now MP in her late sister’s constituency after Jo Cox was killed in 2016, left with colleagues from the central pews.

The bells of St Margaret’s were rung half-muffled to mark the end of the service.

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