Waking up this morning and remembering the tragic events of yesterday has left us all feeling very sad indeed. I wanted to put some words down of my memory of Sir David.
Sir David Amess MP and I had offices on the same corridor in Parliament, so I would often bump into him at the lifts during our daily comings and goings. From the very beginning he demonstrated just what an incredibly kind and generous man he was.
He took the time to get to know you as a colleague, would ask about your journey into the House of Commons (a place that no matter how long Sir David was there for, he never lost the sense of pride and responsibility that came with it), and what you were all about. I marvelled at his memory for things we had discussed, always asking after the family or catching up on things he knew were going on.
His love for Parliament extended to always being a helping hand for new MPs. His decades of experience never eclipsed the memory of his beginnings in what can be a very daunting place for new MPs, so he was always available to us for anything we needed.
Sir David also often chaired debates in Westminster Hall (a small side chamber that MPs use to hold debates outside of the main House of Commons), and it was always a pleasure participating in a debate with Sir David in the Chair. He took a genuine interest in the subject matter, coming over to you prior to the start of the debate to ask how you came to be interested in the topic, what your thoughts were and where he could find out more information.
These are qualities I fear that are sometimes overlooked in people today. We forget sometimes just how important the values of kindness, generosity, helpfulness and positivity can be, but they were qualities that Sir David exuded in abundance. If you caught Sir David at the end of a difficult day, you could be sure to go home feeling better.
Perhaps most endearing, for me anyway, was Sir David’s love and passion for animals – a passion we shared. He was always keen to share photos of our respective pets, would always ask how my Golden Retrievers Willow and Lola were doing, and you could always hear in his voice his sheer warmth towards the creatures we share this planet with.
Sir David was a great Parliamentarian, and his tragic murder has left us all feeling shaken. We have lost a great colleague, and a family have lost a devoted husband and father. All of our thoughts are with his wife, his children, his friends and the people of Southend to whom he was so dedicated.
His murder, so soon after the tragic murder of another MP, Jo Cox, has of course raised many questions about MP’s safety and the way we conduct our jobs. It is sadly true that MPs do have to put up with an extraordinary amount of abuse and threats. I think you would be hard pressed to find an MP who has not received at least one threat during their time – even in my short time as the MP for Carshalton and Wallington, I have received several.
I don’t know what the future holds for the security of MPs, nor do I really intend to add to the debate of what should or shouldn’t happen. I will always remain grateful to our brave police officers who have always endeavoured to ensure I feel safe going about my work.
But I do know one thing.
The part of this job I value most has always been interaction with my constituents. The pandemic was extremely difficult for several reasons, but none perhaps so much as being forced to have to conduct most of my work online and not undertake the visits and conversations that help me understand what is important to local residents.
It is for that reason that I conduct weekly surgeries all across the constituency, why I try to fill my diary visiting local residents, businesses, charities and other organisations, why I try to make as many local events as I can, why I decided to have an office in the High Street for ease of access – because like the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, that is why we do this in the first place.
We will not be intimidated by those who would attack our democracy and the values we hold most dear. We will not cower in the face of threats.
Sir David’s memory will live on in all our hearts. I will try to honour his legacy the best way I know how – by continuing to try to represent my constituents as diligently as he did.
If you would like an appointment to see me, please contact my office on email@example.com.