Sir David Amess dead – the fiercely proud and charming Essex boy who was one of the good guys of British politics

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SIR David Ames, 69, was an Essex boy born and raised who served the people of his home county for nearly 40 years.

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First elected to Parliament in 1983 as a 31-year-old, he was one of the new young, bright Thatcheries who were taking UK politics by storm.

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Sir David was a very dear family mancredit: twitter
Tributes were paid today after Sir David Ames was stabbed to death at lunch

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Tributes were paid today after Sir David Ames was stabbed to death at lunchcredit: David Beber – The Times
His peers and friends remember a charismatic, witty and charming MP

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His peers and friends remember a charismatic, witty and charming MPcredit: Rex
With Theresa May when she was PM

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With Theresa May when she was PMcredit: getty

“He was the embodiment of the Essex man”, told his friend and fellow Tory MP Robert Halfon.

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“He was just the most wonderful and kind and funny and kind politician we were fortunate enough to know in our lifetimes.”

Sir David, a married father of five children, spent a short stint as a primary school teacher in London’s East End and then worked a spell as a recruitment consultant.

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But politics was his calling and by his early 30s the ardent Brexiteer was the proud MP for Basildon in Essex.

Once inside the corridors of power he served as perhaps the most famous ally of the new breed of Thatcherite Tory – Michael Portillo.

He was part of this new gang of Tory grafters and Strivers who are changing their ancient party forever.

But Sir David shrugs off the ministerial ladder, which proves to be very attractive to most politicians.

Instead, this proud Essex boy preferred to be on the backbench where he could speak his mind freely, and stand up for his constituents, without the muzzle of the ‘collective ministerial responsibility’ that many politicians face. Hugs.

His companions and friends remember a charismatic, witty and charming MP.

Friends remembered a kind, decent man

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Friends remembered a kind, decent mancredits: PA
Sir David Ames with Boris as Foreign Secretary

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Sir David Ames with Boris as Foreign Secretary

Someone who loved nothing more than to travel around his constituency, interact with the locals and campaign on issues close to his heart.

The president of his local Tory party branch, dubbed him “everybody’s friend”, could not do much for his patch.

“They have a photographic memory – they remember everyone” he recalled.

After nearly 15 years in his beloved Basildon, Sir David moved to become an MP in the nearby constituency of Southend West (the Boundary Commission owners had tampered with the boundaries of his old constituency – meaning that it Had to fall for labor).

The 1997 election brought with it a change in guard. Tony Blair won the match. Like Maggie Thatcher two decades ago, the new Labor leader was elected on a promise to remake her country – and her party.

But while most of the UK fell into the red rosette, Southend West remained entirely blue. And Sir David was his man.

In parliament he was often found nodding his head in the middle of the PMQ, asking if he would support his campaign to make Southend West a city.

In December 2019, he won an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the campaign and he told lawmakers: “I’m not messing around.

“We’ve got from the prime minister that Southend is going to be a city – and it will become a city.”

Sir David (right) with Dominic Raab

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Sir David (right) with Dominic Raab
With wife Julia and daughter Sarah

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With wife Julia and daughter Sarahcredit: Rex

An ardent supporter of the British monarchy, Sir David saw another opportunity in November 2020 as the Commons considered plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

He asked for a new statue of the Queen and a city status contest to elevate Southend’s status.

In March 2021, Sir David reiterated his statue call – insisting on the Queen that she deserves to be a “great” monarch.

His campaign for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs of Dover also received the support of a minister in May of this year.

When it came to Brexit, he was a committed and passionate campaigner for the UK, which was building a new future for itself outside the EU.

On December 30 last year, he posted a picture of a cardboard cut-out of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Twitter.

He wrote: “While Margaret didn’t live long enough to see this day, I’m sure she’s rejoicing in heaven. We finally ‘Brexit’!”

He was also an avid environmentalist, always campaigning for the improvement of animal welfare standards.

He sponsored bills to improve the tethering of horses and ponies, and he helped get the statute book on Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Grants.

And he campaigned against fox hunting and is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation—along with Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie.

In an interview with the charity Cruelty Free International, Sir David said: “As a child I was known as ‘animal maniac’, this is something I inherited from my late father.

“Over the years I have kept all kinds of household pets. I have always found that most animals are grateful for everything you do for them. This is not always the case with humans.

For more than four decades in Parliament, he has won a legion of admirers and friends across political divides. Labor and Tory lawmakers alike remembered a charming man who loved his constituency and entertained him with jokes and anecdotes.

“He was the Basildon man”, recalls a colleague. That’s actually part of his constituency through and through. “

I'm a Celeb with Georgia Toffolo in the House of Commons

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I’m a Celeb with Georgia Toffolo in the House of Commons
Sir David was MP for Southend West

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Sir David was MP for Southend Westcredit: pixel8000
One of the last photographs of Sir David taken in Parliament a few weeks ago

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One of the last photographs of Sir David taken in Parliament a few weeks agocredit: pixel8000

David Ames’ friend, Judith Canham, expresses her horror at being stabbed ‘such a kind man’

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