Evennett pays tribute to Sir David Amess

10 Conservative MPs who were first elected to Parliament in June 1983, including Sir David Amess and Sir David Evennett

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.

MP and Councillor attend Friends AGM

Pictured are Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Cllr Geraldene Lucia-Hennis with the Officers and Committee members.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Crayford Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis, were among members who attended the Friends of St Paulinus Church Annual General Meeting held on Saturday afternoon (16 October) in the Church Hall.

The meeting was presented with Reports from the Chair, Dorothy Pennington-Jones, Treasurer, John Holbrook and Secretary, Alan Baxter.

Despite Covid and the necessary restrictions, the Friends had continued to operate albeit on a restricted scale. The Lottery run by Margaret Drew had continued and produced much needed income for the Friends. Fundraising and social events were now being planned for the forthcoming year.

After the meeting, members enjoyed tea and homemade cakes baked by Jackie Baxter and Leslie Holbrook. There was also a raffle.

Officers elected to serve for the year 2021/22:
Chair: Dorothy Pennington-Jones
Vice Chair and Secretary: Alan Baxter
Treasurer: John Holbrook

Local Conservatives attend Party Conference in Manchester

Sir David pictured with Mark Brooks

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, and Mark Brooks OBE, Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservative Association President, were among the local attendees at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week.

Members attended fringe meetings, receptions and speeches in the main hall and at the Midland Hotel. Sir David commented: “this was a serious and constructive Conference, which was debating and addressing the big issues facing our country and highlighting the Conservative Governments policies to deal with the challenges. It was really good to attend the Conference in person again.” Sir David, who is the Conservatives Vice Chairman for Business Engagement, also held meetings with a variety of business men and women to learn about their hopes and concerns.

Sir David pictured with the Conservative Party Chairman, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP

Highlights of the Conference were the Prime Minister Boris Johnsons brilliant speech on Wednesday “to make us a high wage and high skill country and to have the guts to tackle problems that previous governments had ignored”; on Monday Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunaks address on “jobs, opportunities and a determination to fix our public finances”; and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Sunday afternoon wanted “a patriotic and positive Britain – an outward looking, optimistic nation confident in its ability to compete and lead.

Business Minister Guests at Tory Supper

Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business and Minister for London, was the guest speaker at the Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservatives Autumn Supper held at the Bexleyheath Conservative Club on Thursday evening (30 September). The event was chaired by the Association President, Mark Brook, and organised by Association Officers Janet Power and Maureen King.

At the sold out event Paul Scully spoke about the importance of small businesses to our economy and for jobs, and highlighted all the Government has endeavoured to do to help businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic. He also spoke about London issues and the forthcoming London Borough elections before answering members’ questions.

Among the guests at the Supper were Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and his wife Marilyn, Bexley Council Leader Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, and Councillors Geraldene Lucia-Hennis and Sue Gower MBE.

There was also a raffle for Party funds.

Evennett back Government action on Southeastern rail franchise

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has expressed his strong support at the Government’s decision to end the London Southeastern rail franchise (LSER) on 17 October 2021, and transfer it to the Operator of Last Resort.

Earlier today (28 September), Sir David met virtually with the Rail Minister, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, to discuss the Government’s plans. Sir David has long campaigned for improvements to rail services in the local area due to the many failures of Southeastern Railway, including delays, cancellations and lack of communications. The Government has taken this action because of the franchise “deliberately failing to report over £25 million of historic franchise payments due to be repaid to Government” and “continues to investigate outstanding matters relating to historical contracts with LSER, with a view to recovering any additional money owed”.

Sir David commented: “I had a very productive meeting with the minister this morning and am pleased with the Government’s decision to remove the franchise from Southeastern next month. Bexley residents have suffered for too long and the Operator of Last Resort will prioritise the punctual, reliable services that passengers deserve, as well as deliver the much needed new and refurbished rolling stock. I am also very concerned at the failure to report monies owed to the Government, but welcome the Government’s swift and ongoing actions to investigate and recover the payments due”.

Evennett reappointed as Conservative Party Vice Chair

During the course of the Prime Minister’s recent reshuffle of Government and Party jobs, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP was reappointed to his position as Vice Chair of the Conservative Party for Business Engagement.

Sir David commented: “I am delighted to continue to serve as a Vice Chair of the Party and to work with colleagues and businesses. As we build back better the Government is determined to help businesses across our country to thrive, succeed and create jobs. Under our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Global Britain is a reality.”

Evennett highlights importance of FE colleges

© Parliamentary Recording Unit

Parliament returned from the Summer Recess this week and Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has been present in the House of Commons chamber to watch the debates and quiz Ministers.

Yesterday (7 September), during Treasury oral questions, Sir David asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, a question on FE colleges. Sir David asked:

I commend my right hon. Friend the Chancellor for all his determination to create new jobs and new investment and to upskill the workforce; I believe it is paying dividends, as we are seeing in the economy. Does he agree that further education colleges have a vital role in upskilling our workforce, both young and not so young, to get the best jobs for the future?

In response, the Chancellor commented:

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right about the important role of FE colleges, which is why I was pleased in the last Budget to invest billions over this Parliament to improve the infrastructure and the quality of our FE estate. With the Prime Minister’s lifetime skills guarantee, FE colleges will be instrumental in delivering to all adults the extra qualification that they need to get better-paid jobs. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to focus on that.

Evennett backs proposed Parliamentary boundary changes in Bexley

In a speech to the AGM of the Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservatives held virtually on Friday evening (25 June), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP backed the recently published initial proposals from the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for new constituencies in the London Borough of Bexley. He called the plans “proportionate and sensible”.

Sir David backed the proposals for bringing the Parliamentary boundaries in alignment with the new Bexley Council ward boundaries, which would mean that the whole of West Heath and Northumberland Heath wards would be included in the new Bexleyheath and Crayford Parliamentary constituency. The whole of the Falconwood and Welling and East Wickham wards would transfer into the Sidcup and Welling Parliamentary constituency. Sir David commented: “these proposals are good for local communities and organisations, and they also maintain historic ties. These proposals would ensure that our important major towns like Bexleyheath, Welling and Thamesmead are not split between Parliamentary constituencies”.

The Parliamentary Boundary Commission have opened their proposals for consultation and constituents can make their views known by visiting https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/ then entering their postcode and clicking the ‘Make a comment’ button.

Need to look forward

Speaking at the AGM of the Crayford Conservatives branch yesterday evening (14 June), Bexleyheath and Crayford MP, Right Hon Sir David Evennett, gave an overview of the last year. He highlighted the success of the vaccine uptake in Bexley as “one of the best in the country”.

Sir David spoke of the considerable difficulties, sadness and challenges of the past year, but highlighted how the leadership of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson, has been “measured and inspirational”. He then spoke about the Government’s legislative programme, including the Immigration Bill, Animal Welfare Bill, the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill and to look forward to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

The Officers elected for the Crayford Conservatives branch were:

Chair: Cllr Geraldene Lucia-Hennis

Deputy Chair: Mrs Norma Seymour

Treasurer: Peter Lucia-Hennis

Secretary: Jamie Hamilton