RIP Sir David Amess MP 1952-2021

The nation was shocked to hear of the murder of my colleague Sir David Amess MP stabbed at his surgery on Friday 15 October 2021.  Sir David was one of the kindest MPs and always stopped to ask how I was. In my role as Shadow Leader of the House I responded to the pre-recess adjournment debate where he used to raise constituents issues in Southend West. On one occasion, the Christmas Pre recess debate he named his constituents wished them a Happy Christmas and I joked that Sir David did not need to send Christmas cards that year. He continued to mention city status for Southend at every opportunity and it was only after his death that  Southend was given City status.  David was a devout Christian and Roman Catholic and he leaves behind his wife Julia and children Katie, David, Sarah, Alexandra and Florence.   He will be missed in the House as a fantastic Parliamentarian but most of all by his family. Let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.   

At 2:30pm a minute of silence was held across Parliament in memory of Sir David which was followed by tributes from MPs and Peers in both Houses. The Speaker then led a procession at 6pm to St Margaret’s Church, Parliament’s Church for a service of Prayer and Remembrance for Sir David Amess MP. The Service was conducted by The Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon of Westminster. The Reverend Tricia Hillas, the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, began by giving the opening prayer:

“God of hope, we come to you in shock and grief and confusion of heart. Help us to find peace in the knowledge of your loving mercy to all your children, and give us light to guide us out of our darkness into the assurance of your love, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”. 

The Choir sang Psalm 121.  

The Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle read from 1 Thessalonians 4:13. tood up to sing the hymn ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’:

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want; he makes me down to lie in pastures green; he feedeth me the quiet waters by.

My soul he doth restore again, and me to walk doth make within the paths of righteousness, e’en for his own name’s sake.

Yeah, though I walk through death’s dark vale, yet will I fear no ill: for thou art with me, and thy rod and staff me comfort still.

My table thou has furnished in presence of my foes; my head thou dost with oil anoint, and my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me; and in God’s house for evermore my dwelling-place shall be. 

Canon Pat Browne, the Roman Catholic Duty Priest to the House of Commons, said:

“Let us pray for the soul of David Amess, and for all who have died in the service of Parliament. Receive, O Lord, in tranquillity and peace the soul of thy servant David. Grant him rest and place him in the habitation of life, the abode of the blessed; and give him the life that knoweth not age, the good things that pass not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”. 

Canon Browne’s closing prayer:

“Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”. 

The service ended as the Choir sang ‘The Antiphon’: May the angels lead you into paradise; at your coming may the martyrs receive you and lead you into the holy city Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus who once was poor may you have eternal rest.