Tributes have been pouring in for Sir David Amess, the Conservative Party MP who has been stabbed to death while holding a constituency surgery in a Methodist church.
Sir David, who had been a Member of Parliament for some 38 years, was a staunch Brexit supporter and a socially conservative Christian and father-of-five, opposing abortion-on-demand and same-sex marriage long after the Tory leadership had given up such causes as unfashionable — but was nevertheless a popular figure on both sides of the House of Commons.
This appears to have been due in large part to Sir David’s seeming lack of interest in climbing the proverbial greasy pole in politics, with the MP being best known not for achieving high office but for his commitment to the constituents he represented and his efforts to advance their interests and the interests of animals, disabled children, and others without a voice of their own in parliamentary politics from the backbenches.
“The reason people are so shocked and sad is above all he was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable.”
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
“Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess,” commented Carrie Johnson, née Symonds, the wife of Prime Minister Johnson.
“He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and true gent,” she said of the late MP, who did indeed couple his longstanding eurosceptic and socially conservative views, informed by his Christian faith, with a passion for animal welfare — leading such legislation as the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act of 1988, aimed at the abuse of horses, asses, and mules, and continuing to campaign against such issues as the inhumane importation of young puppies, caged hens, and pet theft right up to the present day.
“This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children,” Mrs Johnson added.
David Amess was one of the very best. He really was. He was kind, compassionate, and loved animals. Here he is with Vivienne.🐾
Her human will never be coming home again.😔
— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian_Hilton) October 15, 2021
“This is the most devastating, horrific & tragic news,” said former Conservative Party leader and prime minister David Cameron.
“David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man — & he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet,” he added.
Mr Cameron’s successor Theresa May agreed that Sir David was “A decent man and respected parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties,” calling the killing “A tragic day for our democracy.”
“This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who, for over 30 years, was a dedicated public servant. My heart goes out to his family,” concurred Sir John Major, another former Conservative prime minister.
Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair, too, noted that “David and I came into Parliament together in 1983” and said that “Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.”
“This is a terrible and sad day for our democracy,” he added.
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
“My thoughts and concerns are with David Amess’ family at such a shocking time. Nobody should be under threat doing their job,” wrote Jeremy Corbyn, formerly the opposite number to Mr Cameron and Mrs May as Labour leader.
“Horrific and deeply shocking news. Thinking of David, his family and his staff,” concurred Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer.
A lengthier tribute from Sir Keir’s deputy, Angela Rayner, has prompted something of a mixed response, however, with the left-wing MP having recently branded Conservative Party politicians “homophobic, racist, misogynistic… scum” and refusing to apologise for it.
In 2015 David Amess was awarded a knighthood for political and public service. How did the newly-knighted Sir David celebrate?
— Calgie (@christiancalgie) October 15, 2021