Sir David Amess news latest – Heartbroken family urge public to back Southend city status campaign in honour of slain MP

Sir David Amess news latest – Heartbroken family urge public to back Southend city status campaign in honour of slain MP

October 17, 2021

GIVING Southend-on-Sea city status would be a "wonderful tribute" to Sir David Amess, the Home Secretary said today.

Sir David, who died after being stabbed while meeting constituents on Friday, was a ceaseless campaigner for the Essex town on the Thames Estuary to be designated a city.

Priti Patel said on Sunday there will be "work in Government" on the prospect of realising Sir David's long-running campaign.

Asked on the BBC One Andrew Marr's Show whether the Government was likely to grant Southend city status, Ms Patel said: "It brings a smile to me and it warms our hearts because I think of his last PMQs, questions to the Prime Minister, I was in the chamber, it was about Southend.

"I know Southend as an Essex MP as well. Look, that's not for me to say at all. There will be work in Government on that."

Since Friday, a number of MPs and others have fondly recalled the Southend West MP's energy for the cause, including the frequency with which he mentioned the campaign in the House of Commons.

Sir David even secured an adjournment debate on the subject in the Commons in December 2019.

Read our David Amess live blog below for the latest updates

  • Joseph Gamp

    David's family urge public to back Southend city status campaign

    Sir David Amess' family have urged the public to get behind his long-running campaign for Southend to be given city status.

    The murdered Southend West MP, who died after being stabbed while meeting constituents on Friday, was a ceaseless campaigner for the Essex town on the Thames Estuary to be designated a city.

    He was often seen in Westminster and on the campaign trail sporting "Make Southend a city" merchandise, including slogan-adorned baseball caps and face coverings.

    In an emotional statement released through the Metropolitan Police on Sunday, the 69-year-old's family implored people to support the city-status campaign "in his memory".

    They said: "This is not the end of Sir David Amess MP. It is the next chapter and as a family we ask everyone to support the many charities he worked with.

    "There are so many to mention, so find one close to your hearts and help.

    "Closer to home, David was working hard for Southend to gain city status. In his memory, please show your support for this campaign."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Suspect named

    THE man arrested for the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess has been named as Ali Harbi Ali.

    The 25-year-old, who is a British national with Somali heritage, is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.

    However, the investigation is still in its early stages and that could change if new details emerge.

    The suspect was arrested on Friday at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where the MP for Southend West had been meeting constituents.

    Sources confirmed his name to the Sun yesterday evening.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Commons clears Monday schedule for David Amess tributes

    The House of Commons has cleared its timetable for Monday to dedicate the majority of the afternoon to paying tribute to murdered MP Sir David Amess.

    At least two hours will be set aside for politicians to share their memories of the Conservative MP for Southend West, who was killed in a frenzied knife attack on Friday. He had been an MP for almost 40 years.

    The Commons will meet at 2.30pm and, before the start of business, there will be specially written prayers led by the Speaker's chaplain Tricia Hillas followed by a minute's silence.

    Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will then make a statement setting out arrangements for the day.

    After Home Office questions has finished, the Prime Minister will move a motion for the adjournment, which will enable parliamentarians to open the tributes session, which is expected to last until 5.30pm.

    The rest of the timetable for the day will be rescheduled, with Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to make a business announcement later in the week.

    The plan had initially been to give a second reading to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill on Monday, but PA understands it will be pushed back to later this month.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Colleagues lay flowers at vigil (continued..)

    Mark Churchward, who spoke on behalf of Southend church leaders, described Sir David as "a man of honour, a man of compassion and a man of faith", who dealt with everyone respectfully.

    One parishioner told the PA news agency that "you couldn't avoid David Amess if you lived around here. \He had a knack for showing up… you've got to respect that, a man who takes the time to always be there," he said.

    Earlier in the day, several MPs and local politicians visited the site where Sir David was killed.

    Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois on Sunday described his Conservative colleague as his "oldest and best friend" as he laid flowers outside the Belfairs Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea.

    Sir David, 69, was fatally injured while meeting constituents at the site on Friday.

    Mr Francois was visibly emotional as he kissed the bouquet before laying it down. He stood sombrely for a few moments in front of the floral tributes displayed outside the church, and was comforted by a companion.

    "He was the best bloke I ever knew," Mr Francois said tearfully, adding that he would say more about his friend at the House of Commons tribute this week.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Colleagues lay flowers at vigil for Sir David

    Dozens of mourners attended a special service in memory of Sir David Amess, while several fellow MPs added to floral tributes amassed outside the church where he was stabbed to death.

    Residents gathered at St Michael's and All Angels church on Sunday afternoon to pay their respects and share their memories of Sir David, who was a devout Catholic.

    Reverend Tom Loh said many passers-by came into the church, which is opposite the late Southend West MP's constituency office in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday when news of the attack spread, to "shed tears and light a candle".

    Several mourners were invited to step to the front of the church, where a photo of Sir David was placed, throughout the service to share stories about him.

    Local Conservative councillor John Lamb described Sir David's death as a "big loss" and said the MP had worked tirelessly to solve people's problems.

    "Whatever your religion, whatever your creed, whatever your culture, he was there to sort it," Mr Lamb said, his voice shaking with emotion.

  • Joseph Gamp

    David Amess' family 'absolutely broken'

    The family of murdered Sir David Amess said tributes paid to the Conservative MP have given them strength as they try to come to terms with his "cruel and violent" death.

    In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, Sir David's family said they are "absolutely broken" after he was attacked while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday.

    They said: "Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace.

    "So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

    "Whatever one's race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.

    "As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody."

    A 25-year-old man, understood by the PA news agency to be Ali Harbi Ali, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of Sir David's murder and remains in police custody.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Full statement from David Amess' family

    Here is the statement from the family of Sir David Amess MP, released through the Metropolitan Police, in full:

    "The family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful, wonderful tributes paid to David following his cruel and violent death. It truly has brought us so much comfort.

    "The support shown by friends, constituents and the general public alike has been so overwhelming. As a family it has given us strength.

    "We have realised from tributes paid that there was far, far more to David than even we, those closest to him, knew.

    "We are enormously proud of him. Our hearts are shattered. However, there was still so much David wanted to do – this we know from the events of the last few days.

    "So, this is not the end of Sir David Amess MP. It is the next chapter and as a family we ask everyone to support the many charities he worked with. There are so many to mention, so find one close to your hearts and help.

    "David had recently joined a campaign to help raise funds for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn. To him she epitomised the strength and courage of our nation. We would ask as many people as possible to support this and meet the target to complete the project.

    "Closer to home, David was working hard for Southend to gain city status. In his memory, please show your support for this campaign.

    "Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace. So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

    "Whatever one's race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.

    "As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.

    "Please let some good come from this tragedy.

    "We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.

    "We ask at this time that the family's privacy be respected so that we can grieve in private."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Mourners attend church service in memory of Sir David

    Dozens of mourners have attended a special church service in memory of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

    Residents gathered at St Michael's and All Angels church, opposite the late Southend West MP's constituency office in Leigh-on-Sea, to pay their respects and share their memories of Sir David.

    Mark Churchward, who spoke on behalf of a network of Southend church leaders, described Sir David, a devout Catholic, as "a man of honour, a man of compassion and a man of faith", who dealt with everyone respectfully.

    Local Conservative councillor John Lamb described Sir David's death as a "big loss" and said the MP had worked tirelessly to solve people's problems.

    "Whatever your religion, whatever your creed, whatever your culture, he was there to sort it," Mr Lamb said, his voice shaking with emotion.

    A photo of Sir David was placed on a table next to a candle at the front of the church during the vigil.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Police seen at north-west London address

    A police officer was seen emerging from the address in Lady Somerset Road, north-west London, carrying several large bags marked 'police'.

    The location being searched is believed to be linked to the investigation into the killing of Sir David Amess MP on Friday.

    There has been a police presence at the site throughout the day, with two officers standing guard in front of the house.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Pope Francis condemns Sir David Amess stabbing

    Pope Francis on Sunday condemned recent attacks in Norway, Afghanistan and Britain, in an apparent reference to the stabbing death of parliamentarian David Amess.

    The pope, speaking at his Sunday blessing in St. Peters Square, said he was praying for the families of the victims and urged the perpetrators to "abandon the path of violence"

  • Joseph Gamp

    Mark Francois pays tribute to his 'best friend in politics'

    Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois described his Conservative colleague Sir David Amess as his "oldest and best friend in politics".

    He laid flowers outside the Belfairs Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea this afternoon.

    Mr Francois was visibly emotional as he paid tribute to Sir David, standing sombrely for a few moments in front of the floral tributes displayed outside the church where the Southend West MP was stabbed to death on Friday.

    "He was the best bloke I ever knew," Mr Francois said tearfully, adding that he would say more about his friend at the House of Commons tribute this week.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Patel: Police could guard MP surgeries

    Police could be called in to guard MPs' surgeries to keep them safe following the murder of Sir David Amess at a constituency event, the Home Secretary has said.

    Priti Patel said protection for MPs while they are holding talks with constituents was one of the options being considered under a "whole spectrum" of measures to address safety concerns after the Southend West MP's killing on Friday.

    It came as Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy admitted she did not feel safe when going about her Wigan constituency and said she was not sure the situation was "recoverable" for public servants, following the killing of two serving MPs in the past five years.

    Conservative Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times.

    His death comes after the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered in 2016 as she was on her way to a constituency surgery.

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    Coat of arms for Sir David

    Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle says he would like to see Sir David Amess’ coat of arms put up in the House of Commons.

    Speaking to Times Radio he confirmed there would be a chance for MPs to pay tribute to Sir David when the House of Commons sat in the afternoon.

    Serving MPs who are killed in action while in office have traditionally been given the honour of having their coat of arms placed on the walls of the debating chamber.

    It originally started as a tribute to MPs who were killed fighting in wars but now it is a tribute to anyone who is killed on the job. The last person to receive the honour was Jo Cox with a plague designed by her children.

  • [email protected]

    Lindsay Hoyle went ahead with constituency surgery

    Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he went ahead with his constituency surgery as normal on Friday evening, despite the killing of Sir David Amess.

    Sir Lindsay said it was essential that MPs were able to retain their relationship with their constituents.

    “We have got to make sure that democracy survives this,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.

    “I did my surgery tonight because people are not going to stop us. The one thing we have is a relationship with our constituents,

    “It is that relationship we have built up, that trust with the electorate where they can meet their MP, share those issues, share those problems. What David was doing today, I have done tonight.”

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    Priti Patel to face questions over suspect

    The Home Secretary will face questions concerning what was known about a suspect held on suspicion of murdering MP Sir David Amess as police were granted extra time to question him.

    During Sunday morning broadcast interviews, Priti Patel is likely to be pressed over whether the 25-year-old man was known to the Government’s anti-terrorist programme prior to the fatal stabbing of Sir David on Friday.

    Media reports said the suspect has the same details as a man previously referred to Prevent, however, there has been no official confirmation of whether this is the case.

    Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times in a frenzied attack.

    The MP spoke to PR professional Richard Hillgrove to discuss the Children’s Parliament, an event where youngsters are matched with MPs, soon before the attack, the Sunday Times reported.

  • [email protected]

    ‘An attack on democracy’

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has condemned the killing of Sir David Amess as an “attack on democracy”, which raises renewed questions about the security of MPs.

    Ms Patel expressed concern that 69-year-old Sir David was fatally stabbed while holding a constituency surgery in his Southend West seat.

    His death came just five-and-a-half years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far right extremist in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

    Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David, who she described as a “kind and loyal friend”.

    “That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heart-breaking beyond words. It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself,” she said in a series of tweets.

    “Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course.”

  • [email protected]

    Iain Duncan Smith on Sir David

    ***This is a comment piece by Iain Duncan Smith***

    I CONFESS to shedding a few tears when I heard of the brutal death of David Amess, as I thought of his family which I know he loved so much.

    He knew he was vulnerable, as all MP’s are when we invite constituents to come and discuss their problems face to face.

    Yet he also knew that face to face contact with our constituents is a vital part of the job.

    Without it, our whole political system would mean less and we would become strangers to those we serve. 

    For most of our constituents we often become the last hope as they battle with institutions, trying to seek redress for problems damaging their lives.

    Read more here

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    Sir Amess tribute to be added to Dame Vera Lynn statue

    The daughter of Dame Vera Lynn has said she will include a tribute to Sir David Amess in a memorial to her mother that the Tory MP campaigned for.

    Virginia Lewis-Jones, a family friend of Sir David, said she will add a tribute to the statue of her mother once it is created.

    The Southend West MP supported and helped launch the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Appeal, a campaign working to have a statue erected in honour of the forces’ sweetheart after her death.

    The statue is expected to cost around £1.5 million which has not yet been raised, but renewed efforts are being made to publicise the campaign and to now honour Sir David.

    The statue will be designed and created by sculpture Paul Day and will be situated on the White Cliffs of Dover, the subject of one of Dame Vera’s most famous songs.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Lewis-Jones said: “I think in some way, David should also be remembered in the memorial for what he has done to this point and hopefully in spirit will continue to do.

    “We’ve got to continue, not only for my mother but also for David for what he began and for what we will continue to do because it’s half his memorial as well.”

  • [email protected]

    ‘Dave would not have wanted that’

    Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire, also held a surgery on Saturday alongside his Conservative colleague from the Welsh Parliament, Russell George.

    Mr Williams tweeted: “Busy surgery with @russ_george in #Guilsfield this morning. Thought of Sir David Amess throughout.

    “A special shout out to @DyfedPowys for their presence and reassurance. #Montgomeryshire”

    Kieran Mullan, the Tory MP for Crewe and Nantwich, tweeted: “Surgery today, we must not let people force us to do things differently.

    “David would not have wanted that.”

  • [email protected]

    All four surviving PMs pay tribute

    All four surviving former prime ministers also paid tribute to the long-serving MP.

    Theresa May said his death was “heartbreaking” and “a tragic day for our democracy”, adding: “A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties.”

    David Cameron said it Sir David was “the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet”, and said: “David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man. Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today.”

    Tony Blair, who also became an MP for the first time in the 1983 election, said he was “horrified” by the attack, commenting: “Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.”

    Sir John Major said: “This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who – for over 30 years – was a dedicated public servant. My heart goes out to his family.”

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    David’s family ‘can’t believe this happened’

    THE devastated cousins of tragic MP Sir David Amess have laid flowers outside the Essex church where he was yesterday murdered.

    The politician was meeting constituents when he was brutally knifed by a man who had quietly waited for an appointment.

    While his wife Julia and five children grieve privately today, a bouquet signed from family has been placed at the scene.

    The moving note reads: “RIP David. Thinking of your lovely family.

    “Can’t believe this has actually happened.

    “We will always love you.”

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    Coat of arms for Sir David

    Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle says he would like to see Sir David Amess' coat of arms put up in the House of Commons.

    Speaking to Times Radio he confirmed there would be a chance for MPs to pay tribute to Sir David when the House of Commons sat in the afternoon.

    Serving MPs who are killed in action while in office have traditionally been given the honour of having their coat of arms placed on the walls of the debating chamber.

    It originally started as a tribute to MPs who were killed fighting in wars but now it is a tribute to anyone who is killed on the job. The last person to receive the honour was Jo Cox with a plague designed by her children.

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    Tory MP says members will now be ‘wary’ following Sir David death

    Conservative MP Bob Blackman said MPs will now be “wary” of what they do in light of Sir David Amess’s death.

    He told the PA news agency: “I’ve had demonstrations that were outside my office from various different groups at different times, which is quite scary, particularly for staff.

    “I think it’s like everything else, you’ve just got to be wary of what you do now, because, unfortunately, we don’t know what else is going to happen.”

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    Speaker's tribute to Sir David

    ***This is a comment piece by Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle***

    SIR David Amess was a regular in our office. Not because, like many MPs, he wanted to secure a debate or ask for something, but because he genuinely liked a gossip and a chat with my staff.

    If he wasn’t talking about his family – he was a very proud husband and father of five – he would be talking about his love of animals or extolling the delights of his constituency of Southend West, a place that he told us – and the House at every opportunity – most certainly deserved to have city status.

    But he also wanted to know what was going on in the lives of my colleagues, worrying if one of them wasn’t there – and when one member of staff retired after 28 years’ service, bestowing upon him umpteen presents to show his appreciation.

    That was David in Parliament – and that was David in his constituency. A man who found a connection with everyone, no matter their background – a man who loved a laugh and always had a kind, or cheeky, word to say.

    Read more here

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    Suspect named

    THE man arrested for the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess has been named as Ali Harbi Ali.

    The 25-year-old, who is a British national with Somali heritage, is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.

    However, the investigation is still in its early stages and that could change if new details emerge.

    The suspect was arrested on Friday at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where the MP for Southend West had been meeting constituents.

    Sources confirmed his name to the Sun last night.

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