While his work to improve animal welfare standards and get an appropriate tribute installed in memory of Dame Vera Lynn is well known, Sir David Amess has also supported a host of other causes.
According to Hansard, Sir David has made more than 1,300 oral contributions in Parliament.
From 1983 until his murder on Friday, he raised numerous issues and topics ranging from ending energy poverty to securing city status for his beloved Southend.
When Ipswich’s newly elected Conservative MP Tom Hunt asked how to be an effective electoral MP, most suggested Sir David as a role model.
“Sometimes, there were these debates when we had finished the parliamentary session and there was a special debate where you could basically mention anything,” he said.
“Most people give a three or four minute speech and mention one or maybe two things.
“I remember twice hearing Sir David stand up and mention 19 or 20 different things to do with his constituency.”
During nearly four decades in Parliament, Sir David has raised an infinite number of issues and has mentioned many more people and organizations trying to make a difference in Southend.
Here are just a handful of the lesser-known issues he argued as an MP.
“Until I became a Member of Parliament, I had no experience with the almshouse movement,” Sir David told Municipalities in 2008.
“I witnessed a miracle in Basildon, because we had a piece of land and built a hospice with no wealthy benefactors and no generosity from this Parliament or the European Parliament.
“The role of hospices has changed enormously. They are no longer add-ons. They provide basic services.”
He spoke of the “funding crisis” that hospices faced and warned that while most people would readily donate to children’s hospices, adult hospices often struggled to get the money they needed.
He was a staunch supporter of Havens Hospices’ work in Southend and its role in the community.
“Sir David had a longstanding relationship with Havens Hospices,” said Steve Smith, chief executive.
“As a local congressman in Fair Havens [its Southend hospice] he has raised money for charities, has been a supporter of hospice care, and has often raised issues in the House of Commons on our behalf.
“Most recently, he was the guest of honor at our Hares About Town Grand Auction, staying the whole evening and taking the time to talk to guests and staff and then writing to congratulate everyone involved.
“When Sir David visited Fair Havens in August, he spent time with the staff and expressed his interest and admiration for our contribution to the care of his constituents.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends in this difficult time.”
“Loneliness is a very complex experience,” Sir David told the House on June 15. “If we are all honest with ourselves, the number of true friends we have can be counted on our hands.”
During the same speech, praised the work of Jo Cox, the Batley and Spen congresswoman who was killed in June 2016 outside a library in Birstall, where she was supposed to conduct a constituency surgery.
Shortly after becoming an MP, she helped create a cross party commission to examine the extent and impact of loneliness.
Speaking of loneliness during the pandemic, Sir David said: “My area, Southend West, has the largest number of centenarians in the country.
“Not many of their peers are alive, of course, so we have to pay particular attention to the elderly.
“There is a stigma about being alone and it must be eradicated, because it is hindering people from asking for help.”
He commended a number of organizations in his constituency working to alleviate loneliness, including the charity Trust Links, for, he said, “supporting those with mental health and wellness problems through gardening and community involvement. “.
Gareth Evans, head of operations at Trust Links, said: “He was the model of what is a great electoral congressman.
“He genuinely cared and had time for everyone and remembered people’s names and circumstances and followed what was happening.”
In 2007, Sir David expressed his concerns about the forced closure of thousands of post offices.
He stressed that his constituency has the “largest concentration of elderly and centenarians” in the country and spoke of the “devastating effect” of the closures on the local community.
He recounted how Southend West had seen 10 post offices closed at the time and sought reassurance that no further closures were planned.
In 2018, he helped celebrate the opening of a new post office in Eastwoodbury Crescent, run by Steve Piratheepan.
The post office paid tribute to Sir David on Twitter.
It said, “Sir David Amess MP attended many post office events, always with a big smile and showed real interest and support for our postmasters and the communities they serve.
“Our thoughts are with your family and loved ones. Rest in peace.”
The mental health of women
In 2019, Sir David spoke to Parliament on women’s mental health.
“As a man, I do not apologize for contributing to this debate,” he said at the time, “because I come from a family where four of my five children are women.
“My late mother played an important role in my life and of course I have a wife.
“Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.
“We need to completely recalibrate the way the media puts ideas in young women’s minds about what they should look like and how they live their lives.
“The suicide rate for young women has more than doubled in the past 10 years, which is shocking.
“It is easy to talk about these facts, but it is up to the House of Commons to try to get together to think of some solutions.
“I want the government to ensure that people across the country who are not fully aware of the challenges women face know that there is help and support available.”
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She also expressed concern about the well-being of women in prison.
“Expressing a little sympathy for people who are in prison is perhaps not the right thing for a conservative to do,” he told the Commons.
“I am grateful for the Howard League for Penal Reform briefing, which states that a recent study found that over 50% of women in prison report a history of violence and trauma, which contributed to 8,317 cases of self-harm in 2017 alone. “
He then urged the Ministry of Justice to “re-evaluate the practical support that is made available to inmates”.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League, said: “Sir David Amess was aware that imprisonment is particularly harmful to women, who represent only 4% of the prison population, but more than a quarter of all self-harm behind. the bars.
“The Howard League is delighted to work with parliamentarians from all political parties and it was kind of Sir David to thank the charity for raising this important issue in the House of Commons.
“His death is a loss to his family and friends and an attack on our democratic and open society.”
Raise your hand, Sir David’s relentless pursuit of a particular problem does not qualify as a “lesser known” concern.
He too joked about this when, in 2019, he said the House of Commons was “tired of being asked for city status for Southend.”
What may be less well known is how Sir David sought to win Hull the City of Culture title in 2017.
He jokingly suggested that the government had to examine “the formalities of the bidding process” to decide which city to win the award.
Sir David suggested saving a lot of time and energy “by announcing now that Southend should be the City of Culture”.
It didn’t happen, and Sir David resumed his battle for city status the old-fashioned way.
In 2019 he drew up a long list of reasons, ranging from the success of the Music Man project, a music education service for children and adults with learning disabilities, at the 150th anniversary of the Southend Rugby Club in Leigh-on-Sea, voted “the happiest place in the UK”.
Prior to his death, Sir David had his sights set on city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Tuesday that the Queen had agreed that Southend would be granted city status.
“It was important to him and he never missed an opportunity to raise in parliament and everywhere,” said Carol Mulroney, a member of Southend Council’s Cabinet for Environment, Culture, Tourism and Planning.
“He was passionate about Southend. He loved Southend.”
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