8 min read
Boris Johnson has led tributes to “much-loved friend and colleague” Sir David Amess after he was stabbed and killed at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.
“I think all our hearts are full of shock and sadness today at the loss of the David Amess MP who was killed in his constituency surgery in a church after almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of Essex and the whole of the United Kingdom,” the Prime Minister said.
“He was one of the kindest nicest, most gentle people in politics, and he also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.
“Whether it was people who were suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals, or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country.
Johnson continued: “David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future. And we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague and our thoughts are very much today with his wife, his children and his family.”
Essex Police have confirmed that Amess has died after he was stabbed at a constituency surgery on Friday afternoon. A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the incident.
Amess, 69, was first elected as a Conservative MP to the seat of Basildon in 1983, before standing in Southend West in 1997 once his constituency was divided during a boundary review.
Flags outside Downing Street and Parliament have been lowered to half mast. Boris Johnson is expected to make a statement later on Friday.
Deputy Prime Minister and justice secretary Dominic Raab said he was “heartbroken” over the loss of his colleague.
Flags across Parliament are being lowered to half-mast following the news of the killing of Sir David Amess. Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/0LDI8E5NpU
— Sir Lindsay Hoyle (@CommonsSpeaker) October 15, 2021
“A great common sense politician and a formidable campaigner with a big heart, and tremendous generosity of spirit – including towards those he disagreed with. RIP my friend,” Raab wrote on Twitter.
Lord Cormack, Conservative peer and Life President of The House magazine, said: “this is a terrible day for parliamentary democracy and a devastating day for all of us who knew and liked Sir David Amess.”
“It was impossible not to like him; he was one of the most friendly and ebullient of colleagues, who was passionately attached to his constituencies, both Basildon and Southend, and who made a real contribution to Parliament, not least in his work with the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union,” Lord Cormack continued.
“You never saw him without a smile on his face and even though he had very firm political views, he got on with Members in all parts of the House.
“He will be much missed and fondly remembered by everyone who was fortunate enough to call him a colleague and a friend.”
Heartbroken that we have lost Sir David Amess MP. A great common sense politician and a formidable campaigner with a big heart, and tremendous generosity of spirit – including towards those he disagreed with. RIP my friend.
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) October 15, 2021
Levelling up secretary Michael Gove said: “David Amess’s passing is heart-breakingly sad. Just terrible, terrible news.
“He was a good and gentle man, he showed charity and compassion to all, hIs every word and act were marked by kindness. My heart goes out to his family.”
His Cabinet colleague, transport secretary Grant Shapps, wrote on Twitter: “Awful, tragic news about David. A dedicated, thoughtful man and a true Parliamentarian, who lost his life while serving the constituents who he worked relentlessly for throughout his career.”
Health secretary Sajid Javid described Amess as “a great man, a great friend”.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss wrote that she was “devastated to hear the terrible news”.
“He was a lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian. My thoughts are with all his family and friends,” she said.
My thoughts and love are with David’s family. They are all that matter now. This brings everything back. The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now. pic.twitter.com/hwRN0PODPK
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) October 15, 2021
Labour leader Keir Starmer also shared his shock at the new of the Southend MP’s death. “Horrific and deeply shocking news. Thinking of David, his family and his staff,” he wrote.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron said Amess’ death was “the most devastating, horrific and tragic news”.
“David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man – & he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet,” he wrote.
“Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David’s family.”
Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo Cox MP was murdered in her constituency by a far-right extremist in 2016, wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts and love are with David’s family. They are all that matter now.
This is the most devastating, horrific & tragic news. David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man – & he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet. Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David’s family
– David Cameron (@David_Cameron) October 15, 2021
“This brings everything back. The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now.”
Carrie Johnson, wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the news was “absolutely devastating”.
“He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children,” she said.
Conservative peer and minister Zac Goldsmith also remembered Sir David’s love of animals. He wrote: “David Amess, a wonderful and kind man, one of Parliament’s greatest ever champions and advocates for animals.
Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess. He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.
— Carrie Johnson (@carrielbjohnson) October 15, 2021
“This news is just so horrific, and utterly utterly heartbreaking. I thank David for all his wonderful work for the voiceless, and may he rest in peace.”
Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who represents the nearby seat of Harlow, said Amess “embodied an Essex man”. He described him as “kind, thoughtful funny, compassionate and generous spirited. May he rest in peace.”
Former health secretary Matt Hancock said he was “in shock” following the news, and described Sir David as his “mentor”.
“He was so kind and cared so much about Southend,” Hancock said.
Senior conservative MP and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt described news of the MP’s death as “a punch in the face”.
Just devastated and in shock at the murder of David Amess. He was so kind and cared so much about Southend. He was a mentor to me when I arrived in Parliament. Always selfless and had time for anyone. I send my deepest thoughts to his friends, staff and loved ones.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) October 15, 2021
“I worked with David on maternity safety & mental health for young people about which he was passionate. He was kind and fun – & you always left him with a smile on your face. Today we are left with nothing but grief. RIP dear friend,” he wrote on Twitter.
“He was a mentor to me when I arrived in Parliament. Always selfless and had time for anyone.”
Trade minister Penny Mourdant shared a video of Amess’ speech at the Royal Albert Hall, adding that she had “played a small part in helping him get 200 children with learning disabilities” to play the historic venue.
“For those who didn’t know Sir David Amess, this will give you a measure of the man,” she said.
For those who didn’t know Sir David Amess, this will give you a measure of the man. I’d played a small part in helping him get 200 children with learning disabilities to play the @RoyalAlbertHall. This is the video I filmed on the night of his thank you speech. pic.twitter.com/aF7SCiPd3k
— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 15, 2021
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote: “Devastating and awful news about Sir David Amess.
“He was kind, decent and simply doing the job he loved. A terrible loss. My deepest condolences and love to his family and friends.”
Gordon Brown, a fellow former Labour leader and ex-PM, said he was “saddened and shocked” by the news, and extended his condolences to Sir David’s family and friends.
Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth, who serves as shadow health secretary, said it was “terrible” to hear that Sir David had died.
“When I was a new MP my office was not far from his. Although from a different party he was immensely kind, offering tips to a rookie MP & always asked after my children.”
“I am in shock. My deepest deepest condolences to David’s family.”
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