Sir David Amess – a tribute

David Amess was a kind, thoughtful and sensitive man. We may have been political opponents but he was a good friend to me and countless others, right across the political divide. He was a thoroughly diligent and distinguished Member of Parliament, who was unstinting in his commitment and service to his Essex constituents.

I first met David in 1989 soon after I was selected by Labour to contest the election in Thurrock, Essex, a marginal Tory-held seat. David was then already Member of Parliament for Basildon, next door to Thurrock. (Later he represented Southend, also in Essex).

We would sometimes meet on the underground whilst travelling to the constituencies. We would engage in banter – laugh and joke – on other occasions we would sometimes be deeply engaged in discussion about the state of British politics. Surprisingly, we often agreed! We both had a passion for Parliament and its history.

After I was elected we also found that we had much in common. We both shared the need to champion the interests of the people of Essex. Neither of us sought Ministerial office; on the contrary, both of us shared the view that being recognised as an independent vocal backbencher was sufficient reward.

We collaborated in championing the interests of the Iranian opposition politicians who faced persecution and exile. This was ongoing business for David. He was passionate about trying to protect and promote the rights of people arguing for democracy in Iran.

The overwhelming majority of Members of Parliament and local authority councillors and candidates do their very best. David, and all MPs, spend countless hours meeting and serving their constituents in their weekly surgeries. Much of their work is distressing and in some cases, harrowing.

This is not always appreciated or understood by those armchair politicians, who without reflection or hesitation fire away on social media. So often what they write and utter is both cruel and grossly unfair.

Sadly today, the volume of spite and malice directed towards people in public life can border on the intolerable. It can wound terribly. It is not only unfair to those who participate in public life but it is also particularly distressful to their families and loved ones.

I invite everyone – all of us – to now pause and reflect on all the things we say and what we do. We can still have different views but perhaps the way we articulate them should be more carefully crafted.

All of us in public life will join in expressing horror at what has happened. And together we will send our love and sympathy to his wife and family.

At this time we need to bind together, showing unity and discarding the malice that so often disfigures our politics.

May David rest in peace.

* Andrew Mackinlay was the Labour Member of Parliament for Thurrock in Essex (1992 to 2010). He is currently a Liberal Democrat councillor in Kingston upon Thames.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Obituaries.
Advert

One Comment

  • Joseph Gerald Bourke 16th Oct '21 - 12:00pm

    An erudite and balanced piece that is just what is needed at such times, particularly:
    “The overwhelming majority of Members of Parliament and local authority councillors and candidates do their very best. David, and all MPs, spend countless hours meeting and serving their constituents in their weekly surgeries. Much of their work is distressing and in some cases, harrowing.

    This is not always appreciated or understood by those armchair politicians, who without reflection or hesitation fire away on social media. So often what they write and utter is both cruel and grossly unfair.

    Sadly today, the volume of spite and malice directed towards people in public life can border on the intolerable. It can wound terribly. It is not only unfair to those who participate in public life but it is also particularly distressful to their families and loved ones.”

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Joe Bourke
    Paul Johnson of the IFS published an article on the self-employed It’s time we stopped tre...
  • Martin Frost
    Yes Johnson is an odious individual who should be removed from office. However until Labour and the Liberal Democrats abandon their zero covid extremism, I shal...
  • Nick Baird
    I was up there today, and we are pushing on an open door. The Christmas party thing is cutting through with ordinary voters, and they are not happy that the Tor...
  • Peter Davies
    Presumably you are talking about care home residents who are not regarded as tenants. As I said, Tenants have some security. Care home residents have none. That...
  • Barry Lofty
    [email protected] You are probably correct that the Tories will do anything to try to divert attention away from their more serious misdeeds, especially the present incumbe...