Tag Archives: david amess

The right to online anonymity must be protected

There are plenty of lessons to be learnt from the horrific killing of David Amess. People are right to call for a less divisive tone to political debate; Brendan Cox’s article was particularly moving in its calls for more civility and understanding between opposing political sides. Part of this may well be more enforcement against online abuse, and perhaps pressuring social media companies to act faster when it comes to people using those platforms to threaten others. These things will be debated in time and rightly so.

Emotions are running high and there is an understandable desire to create a legislative legacy for Mr Amess. Jo Cox’s death prompted the creation of organisations such as More in Common, which works towards creating more united societies. Close friends of Amess seem keen to stress his focus on ending online abuse, and are rightly raising this as an issue that should be amplified in the light of his death.

But we must tread very carefully in the next few weeks.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Munira Wilson on stabbings

This past week, like so many of you, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by two fatal stabbings.

Last Tuesday, 18 year-old student at Richmond College, Hazrat Wali, was stabbed to death on Craneford Way fields. My heart goes out to his family, friends and the whole college community as they come to terms with this tragic incident. I know many local residents are understandably extremely concerned regarding safety in the area and knife crime. On Wednesday, I arranged a meeting with the police, college leadership and councillors close to the site of the stabbing to understand what immediate actions were being taken and to press for additional patrols and reassurance for residents. Both the police and college security have stepped up their patrols. I and local councillors will continue to engage with them and the local community in the coming weeks and months to ensure residents feel safer.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

David Amess: Do we need to cool the temperature of political debate?

The shocking death of Sir David Amess MP has reignited the debate about how best to ensure the safety of elected representatives and others in public office. That phrase, public office, is critically important to those that elect to run for election and then serve as MPs and councillors. But being public can also be dangerous.

The police have declared yesterday’s stabbing a terrorist incident. That does not mean we should ignore the growing abuse and antagonism between the public and politicians at all levels and between politicians in the House of Commons and elsewhere.

PMQs has become ever more gladiatorial, with media pundits declaring winners and losers.

But should political debate be conducted at a feverish temperature, more about point scoring and tribal loyalties than getting the right things done for our country and its citizens.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

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.

Posted in Obituaries | Also tagged | 1 Comment

PMQs: Miliband hits barn door – twice

Britain back in recession, embarrassing emails about government links to Murdoch. These are gifts to the opposition. The most open of open goals at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

I liked Miliband’s opening question:

Today we had the catastrophic news that Britain is back in recession. I am sure that the Prime Minister has spent the past 24 hours thinking of an excuse as to why it is nothing to do with him, so what is his excuse

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , and | 31 Comments

DPMQs: “Grotesque” and “beneath contempt” – Clegg on the Milly Dowler phone hacking allegations

The highest profile issue at Deputy Prime Minister’s questions today was the issue of press phone hacking in the light of the allegations concerning Milly Dowler and the News of the World.

Harriet Harman asked Nick Clegg to back Ed Miliband’s call for a general public inquiry into illegality in the newspaper industry. As someone has said, this is a bit like holding an inquiry into why we get bad weather. In a sign of divisions within Labour, Chris Bryant, in contrast, has called for a more narrow inquiry.

Nick Clegg stopped short of backing an inquiry but, instead, emphasised the importance …

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 29 Comments

The most improbable MP expenses defence: my bank told me to do it

It’s a toughly contested field. But I think we have a clear winner in the “most improbable excuse for expenses claims” stakes.

Step forward David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West.

He previously took to hiding in a hairdressers to avoid answering questions about his expense claims, he was one of the MPs who voted to block expense reform in the summer of 2008 and now he’s come out with this:

Southend Echo - Amess - Bank Told Me To Overclaim

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Find Tory David Amess’s £1,500 website and win an LDV prize!

The Southend Echo reports (hat-tip to Peter Welch):

SOUTHEND West Conservative MP David Amess claimed more than £1,500 on expenses for website design and hosting. However, the only website the Echo has been able to find dedicated to Mr Amess contained just one picture and no information about him, besides the statement he was the MP for Southend West.

Yesterday, a spokesman at MP’s London office was unable to confirm the web address to which of Mr Amess’s claim related or if it had ever gone live. He said he would ask Mr Amess to call us back, but the

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

David Amess hides in a hairdressers

Another one to file in the “how not to handle the media” file, via the Echo:

MP DAVID Amess ran from the Echo to avoid questions after his expenses showed he claimed the maximum of £400 for food every month for the past four years.

The Tory MP sought refuge in a hairdressers’ as he tried to duck the issue.

He eventually made his escape when a car arrived at the salon in Westcliff and drove him away, with Mr Amess hiding his face behind a leaflet.

The Southend West MP’s extraordinary actions came after it emerged he claimed the maximum £19,000 on

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments
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