Yesterday (18 October), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP paid tribute to his friend and colleague, Sir David Amess, in the House of Commons chamber. Sir David said:
David was indeed a great character, with a fantastic sense of humour, and I am honoured to have been able to call him my friend. So much has already been said about him that I do not want to do a repetition. We were both elected to Parliament for the first time in 1983 with small majorities, became firm friends during the 1980s, and shared an office until 1987 in Abbey Gardens. We also shared staff for a while. In those days the House of Commons sat very late, and I was fortunate enough to get to know David really well during that time. Cheerfulness and dedication were his hallmarks throughout his parliamentary career. As for his boundless energy, well, many of us could not keep up. When he took us canvassing and campaigning in Basildon, we certainly could not keep up.
Working in the office with David was quite an experience —we have already heard about the “menagerie” of things that were in his office—but he was also never backward in coming forward. I remember going to a No. 10 reception on the first occasion after we had been elected. Of course, I was in awe of every Prime Minister—including the current one, of course—but Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister then. I cannot do her accent, but “Ah,” she said, putting her head on one side, “the two Davids!” I just said, “Prime Minister, lovely to be here”, and all the rest of it, but David Amess said, “I have never been here before—can you do me a tour?” At that moment, I wished I had quietly died, but she said, “Yes, I will come and get you later.” And she did! We had a tour. Then she said, “I am going to take you upstairs to show you the flat.” She said, “Of course, this is where I cook Denis his breakfast.” “Really?” said David. “He has a cooked breakfast?” “Yes,” she said. “Well,” he said, “it is very poky up here, isn’t it?” He did not think much of it at all. He never had aspirations to be Prime Minister, I think.
David was a friend. I was privileged to know him, and privileged to work with him on so many campaigns. He was a great parliamentarian, a great politician, a fantastic advocate on behalf of his constituents, and a great champion of our nation. He was also one of the nicest, kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. He was always smiling, and was an indefatigable campaigner for all the many issues that he held dear. We are all devastated by his murder. I have been privileged to know his wife and family over the years, and we think of them and we grieve with them; but we will remember his legacy, and we will look on the positive side, because one thing that David Amess always was, was very positive. I am proud to have known him.