David Amess was ‘original Essex cheeky chappy’ and ‘the living embodiment of Parliament’s strengths’



Dubbed the “original Essex cheeky chappy”, Sir David Amess was the archetypal constituency MP.

Born and raised in the county he served, he was grammar school educated and studied economics and government at Bournemouth University.

The married father-of-five was first elected an MP in 1983 for the Essex town of Basildon.

Following boundary changes, the Conservative backbencher was elected as MP for Southend West in 1995, a seat he held until his death.

In 1997, Sir David appeared in an episode of the Channel 4 satirical current affairs show Brass Eye about a fake drug “cake”.

The 69-year-old was knighted in the 2015 New Year Honors for political and public service.

Sir David with his pugs Lily and Boat (Geoff Caddick/PA)

(PA Wire)

Floral tributes left outside the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

(PA Wire)

Despite serving on various select committees and campaigning for animal welfare and Southend to become a City, he was remembered as a “brilliant” constituency MP.

It was this passion that prompted him to take his surgeries into the heart of the community he served, with tragic consequences.

His aid and “close friend” Julie Cushion told jurors how he had been keen to be close to constituents, after holding virtual meetings during the coronavirus lockdown.

She said: “Sir David felt very passionate about it.

“He wanted to be out in the constitution, easily available to constituents.”

David Amess was praised for his dedication to his constituents

(PA)

Mourners pay their respects at his funeral (Aaron Chown/PA)

(PA Wire)

While security had been beefed up in constituency offices in the wake of the 2016 murder of Jo Cox, Sir David had no particular concerns for his safety.

On October 15 last year, he had opted to hold his surgery at Belfairs Methodist Hall in Leigh-on-Sea, in the heart of the community.

His staff told jurors Sir David was not very “tech savvy” but had taken a selfie to post on Twitter when he arrived and had advertised the event in advance.

During the morning, he took time to see a member of the public who had turned up without an appointment despite having a packed schedule.

Sir David had been an MP since 1983 (UK Parliament/PA)

(AP Mean)

Sir David was accompanied only by two female aides, including his junior parliamentary assistant Rebecca Hayton, who witnessed his murder.

As the nation reeled from the second MP murder in five years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Southend-on-Sea would be granted City status in Sir David’s honour.

At his funeral last November, the devoted Catholic’s friend and colleague Mark Francois delivered a eulogy.

He praised Sir David’s service to his constituents and the sense of humor of the man he branded the “original Essex cheeky chappy”.

Ali Harbi Ali was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering Sir David and preparing acts of terrorism

(PA)

He said: “Whatever the weaknesses of Parliament, David Amess was the living embodiment of all its strengths.”

The terrorist who killed Sir David Amess was on Monday convicted of murdering the MP and plotting attacks on other politicians.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, said he murdered the Conservative politician because he had voted for airstrikes against against Isis in Syria and Iraq.


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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