Home Secretary and Speaker join calls for Southend to be made a city as a tribute to Sir David Amess

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Southend-on-Sea seen from the shoreline - Alamy Stock Photo
Southend-on-Sea seen from the shoreline - Alamy Stock Photo

Making Southend-on-Sea a city would be a “wonderful” tribute to Sir David Amess, Priti Patel said, joining calls to fulfil one of his longest-running campaigns as a local MP.

The Home Secretary yesterday backed the campaign along with the House of Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who said it would be the “biggest and greatest thing we can do for David.”

Southend is one of several towns competing for city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.

As a local MP, Sir David was the most high-profile champion for Southend’s designation as a city and he had been raising the case since 2000.

Asked about the campaign yesterday, Ms Patel said: “If you could see me now I’m smiling at that suggestion, because David was a wonderful advocate.

Sir David Amess, who was killed in a knife attack on Friday - Getty
Sir David Amess, who was killed in a knife attack on Friday - Getty

“People will decide about that but as I’ve said already this morning, one of the last [Parliamentary] questions he put forward was exactly about that. It would be a wonderful tribute to my dear friend David.”

Echoing her comments, Sir Lindsay said: “I would love to see Southend becoming a city, I think that’s the biggest and greatest thing we can do for David.”

Meanwhile, Sir Lindsay also confirmed that a coat of arms will be hung in the House of Commons to commemorate Sir David, adding that the memorial plaque would allow MPs to “remember him” and that “terrorism will not succeed”.

It is understood that Sir David’s family will now be consulted on the plans, which mirror the honour given to Jo Cox, the Labour MP, after she was murdered five years ago during the Brexit referendum campaign.

The proposals were unveiled as MPs prepare to hold a special session from 3.30pm on Monday to share their memories of Sir David, after he was murdered on Friday afternoon while holding a constituency surgery in Leighton-on-Sea.

On returning from a three-week break for the conference season, the House of Commons will sit from 2.30pm with specially arranged prayers delivered by the Venerable Tricia Hillas, the Speaker’s Chaplain, followed by a minute’s silence.

Boris Johnson will then make a statement to MPs on Sir David’s death, while Priti Patel will also speak, giving an update on a review of security arrangements prompted by the killing.

The scheduled business for the day will be cleared so that MPs are given the opportunity to pay tribute to the Southend West MP, until 5.30pm.

At this point, the Commons Speaker will lead a procession to a service of prayer and remembrance for Sir David in St Margaret's Church, next to Westminster Abbey, starting at 6pm.

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