David Amess, Allison Pearson, Sir David Amess, Columnists

David Amess, Allison Pearson

Hopes that Sir David’s death could usher in a kinder era of politics may not last for long

Praise from all parties showed the best that Parliament could be, but it's not enough – firm action must follow

10/20/2021 1:43:00 AM

'Good and evil are difficult concepts, but I like to think we still know them when we see them' | Writes AllisonPearson

Praise from all parties showed the best that Parliament could be, but it's not enough – firm action must follow

Sir David, as James Duddridge told the House with a rueful smile, was wont to break the ice at parties by introducing him as, “This is James, my neighbour, who was recently released from prison.” Such lack of pomposity is not always found at Westminster. Neither are abundant kindness and good humour or budgies and fish, both of which the member for Southend West defied the rules to keep in his office. He loved animals, and you can bet the feeling was mutual.

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In a perfectly judged speech, balancing sorrow and hilarity, the Prime Minister acknowledged that the passing of 72 hours “has done little to numb the shock and sadness we all felt when we heard of the tragic death of Sir David Amess.” Boris spoke of a “contemptible act of violence in his constituency surgery… committed against “one of the nicest, kindest, most gentle individuals to ever grace these benches”. Although Sir David was on the Right of the party, and an avowed Thatcherite, he “confounded expectations and defied easy stereotypes”. You can say that again. His list of causes encompassed fuel poverty, endometriosis, free Iran, animal cruelty, children with learning difficulties and – never to be forgotten, always to be shoehorned into any speech, no matter how unsuitable – the case for Southend becoming a city.

What a cheer went up when the PM announced with a triumphant grin that Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status “it so richly deserves”. Another Essex MP, Andrew Rosindell, talked about “one of the best people I’ve known in my entire life. He looked down on no one – he was everyone’s equal.” Perhaps explaining why the talented Sir David never got a sniff of ministerial office in 40 years of public service, Rosindell said, “He didn’t change his views in order to progress”. headtopics.com

Praise from people in all political parties, including a touching eulogy from Sir Keir Starmer and warm personal memories from Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper, contributed to the sense that this was the best (and most unified) that Parliament could be, although the hopes expressed that the loss of Sir David could usher in a less vicious era of politics may not be honoured for long. Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, must have privately breathed a sigh of relief that no one reminded her of her recent foul rant and yelled, “Tory scum!” It would have been the end of her career. Rayner was absent from the chamber – too embarrassed to show her face, I hope – and a public apology must still be in order.

Another lifelong friend, and fellow Essex boy, Mark Francois, gave a remarkable, emotional oration, sparks of anger flying from his fiery words. In recent times, he said that Sir David had become concerned about the vile, misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure. “If we want to ensure our colleague didn’t die in vain we can collectively pick up the baton and take the forthcoming Online Harms Bill and toughen it up – so let’s put David’s Law onto the Statute Book.”

Francois’s cause against the internet billionaires who make money allowing anonymous trolls to call for MPs to be burned alive in their cars is undoubtedly just. None the less, it dodges the issue that the suspect was reportedly referred to the Prevent counter-terrorism programme as a teenager. Hundreds of youths are reported to Prevent each year, but few are considered bad enough to merit further observation.

It would be really good if some of the Labour MPs who praised the decency of Sir David could acknowledge that it is repeated claims by their human rights wing that Prevent is “Islamophobic” which allow potential terrorists to flourish unseen. Not helped when those such as Anjem Choudary, the pin-up of mass murderers, who was jailed for five and-a-half years in 2016 for inviting support for Islamic State, was released from Belmarsh in 2018 after astonishingly serving only two years of his sentence, but with 20 bail conditions relating to communication attached. Those conditions were lifted in July. What fools we are. headtopics.com

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Exploiting sensitivities around racism is what the far Left does and in so doing shuts down counter-terrorism operations which may, ultimately, have protected the life of a wonderful man like David Amess. Andrew Rosindell told me that his friend was a firm believer in “British values” and would have wanted firm action. I hope that William Shawcross’s review of Prevent helps to bring that about.

Read more: The Telegraph »

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Man arrested after death threat sent to MP following killing of Sir David AmessA MAN has been arrested after MP Chris Bryant received death threats in the wake of Sir David Amess ’ death. The Rhondda MP said he was sent the malicious post after calling for people to be k…

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Southend to become a city in honour of Sir David Amess🔴 Leading tributes in the Commons, the Prime Minister said he was 'happy to announce that Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves'

MPs pay heartbreaking tributes to ‘steadfast servant’ Sir David Amess'This House has lost a steadfast servant, we've lost a dear friend and colleague, and Julia and her children have lost a loving husband and devoted father.'