Sir David Amess: MPs and peers join Prime Minister at Westminster Abbey memorial service
The Prime Minister, MPs and peers attended a service in memory of Sir David Amess who died after he was stabbed at his constituency surgery
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Wearing black suits, dresses, and face coverings, the MPs and peers walked from Parliament to St Margaret’s Church in Westminster Abbey, central London.
Ministers followed Mr Johnson and took their seats in the pews while organ music filled the church.
St Margaret’s Consort, conducted by Greg Morris, performed songs including Nimrod by Edward Elgar and Psalm Prelude by Herbert Howells.
MPs and peers fell silent as the service began.
Politicians from all parties, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Lisa Nandy sat in the rows behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who sat on the front row nearby Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, has read a passage from the Bible, Thessalonians 4:13, at the service.
Wearing a long black coat, suit and tie, he addressed hundreds of his grieving colleagues, before they rose to sing another hymn
MPs from all parties sung a hymn at the Westminster service. The hymn, Eventide, followed an address by The Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon of Westminster, who welcomed the politicians to pray for Sir David’s family.
‘The light lit by public service must never be put out’
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said the “light lit by public service” provided by MPs like Sir David Amess “must not be put out” in the wake of his death.
He told MPs during the service at St Margaret’s in Westminster Abbey: “He was of the best, and his name will be remembered with Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Anthony Berry, Ian Gow and Jo Cox, those MPs murdered since 1945, and others – like Andrew Pennington – who have died in the course of public service.
“Public service in politics is a sacrifice that should be honoured and respected, even when differences of opinion run very deep indeed.”
“Sacrifice is the rent paid to liberty by those who represent us.
“But when the cost is seen so visibly, with such demonic horror, what do we say so that we may comfort the grieving and be resilient in tragedy?
“First, that the light lit by public service must never be put out.
“Even in the darkest moments – and especially for Julia and David’s children, this is as dark as could be – light continues.”
‘David relished working across the party divides’
It follows after MPs in the House of Commons paid tribute to Sir David, as did peers in the House of Lords
Leading tributes to Sir David in the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker Lord McFall of Alcluith, said the MP “had an ability to make every encounter bright”.
He said: “Sir David was not a member of this House but he was one of us, he was true parliamentarian.
“He was also an exemplar of decency and courtesy.”
He added: “David relished working across the party divides, he was not tribal.
“He could never be accused of being remote or detached.”
The former MP added: “Not once did I meet him in these corridors over the 34 years we served together without being met with an enormous smile as he bounded towards me with a spring in his step.
“He had an ability to make every encounter bright, something which reminded me time and time again of the inherent goodness of humanity.”
Tory leader in the Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, said like many others she had been “shocked, shaken and saddened” by the tragic death of Sir David Amess.
She said: “It is true to say that he achieved more on the backbenches than many of us ministers manage to achieve in Government.”
Lady Evans, who is married to the Conservative MP for North West Norfolk, James Wild, said: “I stand here today as not just the leader of this House but as the wife of an MP.
“I see the vital work they do – day in, day out, on the front line to help some of the most vulnerable people in society.”
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