Sir David Amess obituary: From ‘humble’ East End beginnings to 38-year career as animal-loving MP

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed several times at his constituency surgery.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Sir David, 69, had been an MP for 38 years having first been elected to parliament in 1983.

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Sir David Amess: A life in politics

He had been MP for Southend West since 1997, having previously represented the Basildon constituency.

He never held a ministerial role during his long parliamentary career, although he was a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to former ministers Edwina Currie and Michael Portillo in the late 1980s.

Sir David instead focussed his efforts from the backbenches of the House of Commons.

File photo dated 17/09/03 of David Amess, MP for Southend West in Essex, outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. Conservative MP Sir David Amess has reportedly been stabbed several times at a surgery in his Southend West constituency. Issue date: Friday October 15, 2021.
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Sir David Amess, pictured in 2003, joined the Conservative Party at the age of 16

He sat on a number of Commons committees during his time in Westminster and also sponsored many parliamentary bills – many of which were focussed on his keen interest in animal welfare and his ambition to eliminate fuel poverty.

His interventions in the Commons were often notable for his long-running campaign to get Southend designated as a city.

Sir David was a supporter of Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum. But he described the years between the vote result and the UK’s official exit from the EU as “three and a half dreadful years in parliament”.

File photo dated 04/03/03 of The Parliamentary pancake with David Amess MP (4th left) leading the way as members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords battle it out yards from Parliament. Conservative MP Sir David Amess has reportedly been stabbed several times at a surgery in his Southend West constituency. Issue date: Friday October 15, 2021.
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Sir David Amess led the way in the annual parliamentary pancake race in 2003

He was raised as a Catholic and had a pro-life stance on abortion issues in the Commons.

Sir David was born in London’s East End in 1952 and both his parents came from relatively poor backgrounds.

Last year, Sir David published a book titled “Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster”, in which he documented his long political career.

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Eyewitness describes MP stabbing

In the book Sir David wrote how, with hindsight, his “drive and hunger to succeed were the lasting effects of those early years”.

“I was determined to achieve as much of myself as I possibly could, in spite of the fact that I came from a relatively humble background,” he added.

After passing the 11 plus exam, Sir David attended a grammar school and – at the same age – decided he wanted to be an MP and went on to form his own political party known as “The Revolutionist Party”.

In 1968, at the age of 16, Sir David joined the Conservative Party and wrote how he had “never looked back since nor regretted my decision”.

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Scene of MP stabbing

All royalties from Sir David’s book have been split between three charities; Endometriosis UK, the Music Man Project and Prost8 UK.

In 2019, Sir David helped arrange for 200 students with learning disabilities to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music Man Project.

He received his knighthood in 2015 for political and public service, an honour which he celebrated by dressing up in a suit of armour.

Sir David and his wife Julia had five children, David, Katherine, Sarah, Alexandra and Florence.

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