Sir David Amess’ casket was transported to Westminster Cathedral today as Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer led a host of former prime ministers and other senior politicians at a memorial service in honor of the assassinated Conservative MP.
The Prime Minister and the Labor leader are both set to pay their respects to the father of five after he was stabbed to death in constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea October 15.
A message from the Pope will also be read during the Requiem Mass celebrated in London. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will preside and Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, will deliver Pope Francis’ message.
Today’s memorial service, attended by former prime ministers Theresa May, David Cameron and John Major, as well as current ministers like Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Sajid Javid, comes after the Tory MP’s private funeral held at Southend the day before.
Yesterday, people marched through the streets to pay their respects to the Member of Parliament for Southend West as mourners attended a private ecumenical service at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell on Monday.
Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe, a friend of Sir David’s, read a statement on behalf of the Amess family, similar to one released shortly after his death, asking people to “put the hate aside” and calling for tolerance.
Southend West MP Sir David was killed during an operation in a constituency in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on October 15.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, was charged with his murder and also with preparing terrorist acts between May 1, 2019 and September 28 this year. He is due to file a plea in December.
Sir David Amess’ casket arrives at Westminster Cathedral this morning ahead of a memorial service attended by several prominent politicians
The coffin was laid in the Chapel of the Palace of Westminster overnight before arriving at Westminster Cathedral this morning ahead of a memorial service
The hearse carrying the coffin of MP Sir David Amess leaves the Palace of Westminster where it was laid in the Chapel overnight, before a Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral
Politicians, left to right, former Prime Ministers Sir John Major, David Cameron and Theresa May, Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson before mass Requiem by MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral
Politicians fill the benches ahead of Sir David Amess’ memorial service at Westminster Cathedral this morning
Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) chats with former Prime Minister Sir John Major ahead of Sir David Amess MP’s Requiem Mass
Sir Keir Starmer spoke with Home Secretary Priti Patel ahead of this morning’s service at Westminster Cathedral
Former Prime Ministers Sir John Major (left) and David Cameron before Requiem Mass for Sir David Amess MP
A service order placed on the seats before a Requiem Mass for MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral this morning
Boris Johnson arrives at Westminster Cathedral this morning for a requiem mass for Sir David Amess after the Tory MP was stabbed to death in October
The Prime Minister and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer are both set to pay their respects to the father of five after he was stabbed to death while undergoing surgery in the Methodist Church constituency Belfairs to Leigh-on-Sea on October 15th.
Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives ahead of a Requiem Mass for MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral this morning
Chancellor Rishi Sunak arrives at Westminster Cathedral for the memorial to murdered Tory MP Sir David Amess
Today’s memorial service, attended by former prime ministers Theresa May, David Cameron and John Major, as well as current ministers like Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Sajid Javid, comes after the Tory MP’s private funeral held at Southend a day earlier.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May (left) and Communities Secretary Michael Gove (right) arrive at a Requiem Mass in honor of MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral
Sir David’s casket, draped in a union flag, was carried by porters from the Southend Fire Department.
After the church service, they carried the casket to a horse-drawn hearse for a procession around Southend.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Southend Civic Center to pay their respects as the hearse, led by four black horses, stopped in front of him.
Uniformed policemen bowed their heads as the hearse arrived and people cheered.
After his death MPs paid homage to Sir David in the Commons and a service was held in honor of Sir David at St Margaret’s Church.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer were among some 800 politicians in attendance to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury say that the ‘public service illuminated light’ provided by MPs like Sir David ‘must never be extinguished “.
Sir David Amess’ ‘absolutely broken’ family yesterday begged Britons to ‘put aside their differences’ in a moving statement read at his funeral – as Boris Johnson said ministers’ fell apart’ when they learned of his death.
The Tory MP’s wife Julia, son David and daughters Flo, Katie, Sarah and Alexandra are all reportedly serving.
Sir David Amess had organized a constituency operation in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, last month
“This is the only way forward – put aside hatred and work for unity,” the family said in a statement read by Sir David’s friend and former colleague Ann Widdecombe. “Regardless of race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. As a family, we are trying to understand why this horrible thing happened.
“No one should die this way. Anybody. Please let good come out of this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and move on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man. We ask at this time that the privacy of the family be respected so that we can mourn in private.
Earlier, at the eulogy, Sir David’s friend Mark Francois MP remembered him as “the cheeky chappy of Essex” and hired his services in Southend, who would now become a city in his posthumous honor.
After a service in which a local choir sang Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”, porters from the Leigh-On-Sea Fire Station carried the MP’s coffin out of St Mary’s Cemetery in Prittlewell before let him be placed in a horse hearse, as members of the audience spontaneously cheered.
Uniformed police officers bowed their heads as the hearse stopped outside the Southend Civic Center before stopping again at Sir David Southend West’s constituency office, Iveagh Hall, on a bright autumn day, albeit cold.
Earlier, Boris Johnson recalled that he was in the middle of a day’s absence from cabinet in Bristol when he learned of the veteran MP’s death, and when he told his colleagues that several “are broke down “.
He told BBC Radio Essex: “It was clear that he inspired feelings of affection, love and admiration for the causes he championed. He was a guy who campaigned for things he really cared about … He showed what you can do as a Member of Parliament to change the lives of people across the country and he will be sadly missed.
Mark Francois praised Sir David’s service to his constituents during his eulogy at his funeral in Southend.
President Sir Lindsay Hoyle arrives for a Requiem Mass for MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral this morning
A wreath is carried through Westminster Cathedral in central London ahead of a Requiem Mass for MP Sir David Amess
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice (left) and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (right) arrive for a Requiem Mass for MP Sir David Amess at Westminster Cathedral
The MP for Rayleigh and Wickford told mourners at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell: “Our constituents employ us to represent them on a contract renewable every few years.
“We work for them and not the other way around, and no one has ever been more aware of this than David Amess.
“Whatever you think of MPs, and opinions vary, in my experience MPs from all parties are really trying to help others.”
The Tory MP continued: ‘He was the first cheeky cheeky in Essex. In short, David Amess had more before than Brighton.
“He was deeply honored to be knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in Windsor. As he told the Echo newspaper: “I never dreamed that one day a boy from Forest Gate would be knighted by a queen in a castle.”
“He then celebrated by renting light armor and showing up on horseback at the Southend Mayor’s Annual Reception. When asked what he thought he was doing, he simply replied, “I am a knight”.
Mr Francois continued: “He put Basildon firmly on the map and he worked tirelessly for Southend.
“At the end of the day, I think his constituents loved him for it.
“Just look at the turnout here today in this beautiful house of God, which before long will be part of the town of Southend – forever.
“So he won in the end. Some would say, including me, that David was truly a legend.
The former minister also recalled how Sir David helped break the world record for most centenarians over a lunch at an event in Southend, recorded an album with Bananarama and had boiled candy blessed by the Pope.
Concluding the tribute, Mr. François said: “The David Amess that I have known has never yielded on an important point of principle to anyone, and neither have we.
“Despite this horrific tragedy, we will keep our calm and carry on, because I truly believe that is exactly what he would have wanted us to do.
“So we come to say goodbye, or maybe it’s goodbye, to Sir David Amess – a wonderful husband and father to Lady Julia and their children, an excellent parliamentarian and an absolutely brilliant constituency MP.
“Whatever the weaknesses of Parliament, David Amess was the living embodiment of all his strengths.
“You see, ladies and gentlemen, in the end he was really, quite literally, a jolly fellow. And so, I’m sure, tell us all.