PM to lead Commons tributes to Sir David Amess as family urges 'set aside hatred'

18 October 2021, 06:47 | Updated: 18 October 2021, 10:16

Boris Johnson will lead the tributes for Sir David.
Boris Johnson will lead the tributes for Sir David. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today lead tributes to Sir David Amess in the House of Commons.

The usual timetable has been cleared, with at least two hours set aside for politicians to share their memories of the Conservative MP for Southend West, who was killed in a knife attack on Friday.

It comes after Mr Johnson and opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer left flowers in tribute to Sir David on Saturday, visiting Belfairs Methodist Church, where the incident took place.

There will be a morning of prayers in the Commons - led by the Speaker's chaplain Tricia Hillas - and a minute's silence at 2.30pm.

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told LBC today: “David was a great friend to all of us.

“Sir David brought warmth. He was a politician that loved his job, he got the best out of the job, that’s why he got so much out of constituents who loved him.

“He was popular all across the House.

“He has done something that we would all love to do...he has united politicians and brought us together not just in grief but making sure that the democratic process survives.”

“My thoughts are with his wife Julia and family. It’s the darkest weekend I have had.”

“Today we can have a fresh start," he added.

Read more: 'Our hearts are shattered': Family of MP Sir David Amess release emotional tribute

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Tributes to Sir David are expected to last until 5.30pm in the chamber. They will be followed by a procession led by the Speaker to a service of prayer and remembrance in St Margaret's Church, next to Westminster Abbey, starting at 6.00pm.

However, the event will only be open to MPs and peers due to limited space.

A book of condolence will also be placed in the House of Commons Library for members to sign, with further books also placed in Westminster Hall and in Portcullis House for all parliamentary staff to record their tributes.

It comes after Sir David's family urged people to be tolerant and "set aside hatred" in his memory.

In a statement, the family said they were trying to understand why Sir David was killed, saying: "Nobody should die in that way. Nobody."

They released the statement after crowds of mourners gathered to attend a special service for the MP.

Sir David - who had been an MP for almost 40 years - was stabbed multiple times during a meeting with his constituents in Essex on Friday.

A 25-year-old man is being held under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of the 69-year-old's murder.