Sir David Amess: PM announces Southend will become a city in honour of killed MP

Tributes have been paid to Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church on Friday (15 October)

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the Queen has agreed Southend will be granted city status following the killing of MP Sir David Amess.

Mr Johnson told MPs that Southend-on-Sea will be given city status - a long-running campaign of Sir David Amess - as he led tributes to the murdered MP.

Sir David was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church on Friday (15 October).

The Prime Minister Johnson opened MPs’ tributes to the late Southend West MP on Monday (18 October), describing Sir David as a "steadfast servant" of the House of Commons, a "prodigious campaigner", and a "dear friend and colleague".

He said: "Sir David was taken from us in a contemptible act of violence, striking at the core of what it is to be a member of this House.”

The Prime Minister also remembered the MP’s efforts to secure city status for his constituency.

"He never once witnessed any achievement by any resident of Southend that could not, somehow, be cited in his bid to secure city status for that distinguished town," said Mr Johnson.

The Prime Minister added: "A compelling case and, as it is only a short time since Sir David last put that case to me in this chamber, I am happy to announce that Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves."

Southend is known for being home to the world’s longest pleasure pier, and was once home to the only five-star hotel on England’s south-east coast.

It is also twinned with a town in Poland. In 1999, Sopot officially became the twin town of Southend-on-Sea.

Sopot, on the Baltic coast, has previously been dubbed Poland’s Riviera, with its hotels, beaches, pubs and restaurants making it a popular spot for holidaymakers.

Mayor of Southend, Councillor Margaret Borton, said: “Hearing the announcement from the Prime Minister today is a sombre but special moment.

“For the borough to achieve city status is testament to how loved and well-respected Sir David was.

“My only wish is that Sir David could have seen this moment himself, because it has brought years of his tireless campaigning to fruition.

“I hope that this announcement will highlight the legacy that Sir David leaves us.”

Tributes paid to Sir David Amess

Conservative MP James Duddridge, who represents the neighbouring constituency of Rochford and Southend East, said: “We all in Southend assumed David would go on forever. The late Eric Forth told me that David would be the Father of the House.”

Mr Duddridge described Sir David as “sprightly”, and said: “I just felt that there was more ahead of him than behind him. Sadly his future was stolen from us all, and Southend and this House are poorer for it.

“David listened. David cared. David delivered. He had a knack of getting things done. This is not the last of David, he lives on in us all.”

Former Prime Minister Theresa May said every MP has “lost a friend” as she paid tribute to Sir David.

She told the Commons: “Laughter, service, compassion – these are three of the words that spring to my mind when I think of Davis Amess.

“Laughter because you could never have a conversation with David without laughter and smiling, whether it was because of one of the outrageous stories he was telling – perhaps about one of his colleagues or somebody else – but there were always smiles, always laughter, always fun around David.”

The Conservative former prime minister added: “I suggest to anybody who wants to be a first-class constituency MP that you look at the example of David Amess.”