Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer joined the Pope in paying their respects to stabbed MP Sir David Amess during a Westminster Cathedral ceremony
Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer are to pay their respects to killed MP Sir David Amess.
Today the Prime Minister and Labour leader are among the senior politicians attending a Westminster Cathedral service for the Conservative politician.
Southend West MP Sir David, a father-of-five, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex on October 15.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, has been charged with his murder and also with preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September 28 this year.
A message from the Pope will be read as the requiem mass is held in London, following Monday’s private funeral held in Southend.
People lined the streets on Monday to pay their respects to Sir David, as mourners attended the private ecumenical service at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will preside and Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, will deliver a message from Pope Francis.
Sir David’s coffin, draped in a union flag, was carried by pallbearers from Southend Fire Service.
After the church service, they carried the coffin to a horse-drawn hearse for a procession around Southend.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Southend’s Civic Centre to pay their respects as the hearse, led by four black horses, paused in front of it.
Uniformed police officers bowed their heads as the hearse arrived and people applauded.
Following his death, MPs paid tribute to Sir David in the Commons and a service was held in Sir David’s honour at St Margaret’s Church.
Johnson and Starmer were among around 800 politicians in attendance to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury say the “light lit by public service” provided by MPs like Sir David “must never be put out”.
Asked what Sir David Amess meant to her, Ann Widdecombe said: “He was a very close personal friend, I was godmother to one of his daughters, I knew the family very well, we stayed with each other.
“It was one of those friendships which occasionally get formed at Westminster.
“It still has a great air of unreality about it – I think that’s quite inevitable if you lose a friend suddenly in terrible circumstances.
“We’re all asking ourselves why, I don’t think anybody can tell you why.”
She added: “David, of course, was a practising Catholic. He led the All [Party] Parliamentary Group to the Holy See, met the Pope several times. The Pope has sent a personal message.
“Now, when you consider David wasn’t a senior member of the Government or anything, but I reckon that to the Pope he was probably the most important person in Britain.”