Kim Leadbeater’s emotional Sir David Amess tribute speech
Senior political figures yesterday gathered at Westminster Cathedral for Mr Amess’ funeral service. Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid his respects alongside the Speaker of the House and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. In a message delivered by Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Apolistic Nuncio to Great Britain, Pope Francis praised Sir David for his years of “devoted public service”.
The Pope also called for mourners’ resolve to be strengthened to “combat evil with good” and “build a society of ever greater justice” following the death of the devout catholic.
Yesterday a private service at the Church of England parish church, led by the Reverend Paul Mackay and Monsignor Kevin William Hale also took place, and was attended by the family of Sir David, who was married with four daughters and a son.
The MP was tragically stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on October 15.
The incident echoed the 2016 murder of Labour MP Ms Cox in Birstall, where she was due to attend a constituency surgery.
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Sir David Amess gave a chilling insight into the “barbaric” murder of Jo Cox
Sir David’s funeral was held today
In a book published last year, Sir David described how he and his colleagues had altered the way they interacted with the public in the wake of Ms Cox’s murder.
In ‘Ayes and Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster’ Sir David wrote: “The murder of Cox was still totally unexpected. She had been an MP for a very short time, having been elected in May 2015.
“She was approaching the library where her constituency surgery was to be held, when she was attacked and killed in the most barbaric fashion imaginable.
“The event took place during the 2016 EU Referendum Campaign and had a galvanising effect on the campaign, the general public and Members themselves.
Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were both at the service
“My colleague Mark Francois alerted me to the attack, at which time he was unaware that Jo had actually died.
“She was a young woman with a family going about her duties as we all do, completely unaware of the threat that she faced.
“While it is often said that good can come out of someone’s death, it is difficult to see what good can come from this senseless murder.
“Nevertheless, it is to be commended that the Jo Cox Foundation has been established to combat loneliness.”
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On June 16, 2016, Ms Cox died after being shot and stabbed multiple times in the street
On June 16, 2016, Ms Cox died after being shot and stabbed multiple times in the street.
Thomas Mair, who held extremist far-right views, was subsequently found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.
Sir David wrote about the heightened security concerns in the wake of Ms Cox’s murder, and added that MP’s had changed the way they interacted with the public before his own death.
He wrote: “There can be no doubt that as a result of these heightened security concerns most members have modified or changed the way they interact with the general public.
Mr Amess was a committed long serving Tory politician
“The Commons authorities have taken threats very seriously and have issued guidance for the safety and security of not only members, but their families.
“This includes security in their own home.
“I myself have over the years experienced nuisance from the odd member of the general public at my own property.”
Sir David also revealed he was frustrated that the heightened security has “spoilt” the tradition of constituency surgeries.
He said: “The British tradition has always been that Members of Parliament regularly make themselves available for constituents to meet them face to face at their surgeries.
“Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments.
“We are advised to never meet people alone, we must be extra careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure.
“In short these increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”
‘Ayes and Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster’ was written by Sir David Amess and published by Luath Press Ltd in 2020. It is available here.