Sir David Amess profile: Eurosceptic MP with a passion for animal welfare

The Conservative Sir David Amess, 69, was one of the longest-serving MPs, having first been elected for Basildon in 1983 and then for Southend West in 1997.

A long-term Eurosceptic, he supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and tweeted a picture of a lifesize cardboard cutout of Margaret Thatcher on the day the UK left the European Union.

A father of five, he was born in Plaistow, Essex and became a primary school teacher in Bethnal Green, east London after graduating in economics and government from what is now Bournemouth University. He later became a recruitment consultant.

Initially elected as a councillor to the London borough of Redbridge, after winning the Basildon seat he served as parliamentary private secretary to Michael Portillo for 10 年.

いつ, against the odds, he held the marginal Basildon seat in 1992, it was the first clear demonstration that Labour would not win that election. He later wrote a book about his experiences, entitled 1992: Against All Odds, which was launched in the Commons at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the election.

Before the 1997 選挙, with a boundary review dividing Basildon, he was selected for Southend West.

Amess’s ambition from the age of 11 was to become an MP. Although he did not serve as a minister, or hold positions as a Conservative spokesperson, he was well known for his campaigning from the backbenches. Issues close to his heart included animal welfare, and he was one of the few Tory MPs in favour of a foxhunting ban. Fuel poverty was another area he had been active in addressing.

While serving on the health select committee from 1998 それまで 2007 he campaigned on various issues, including obesity and endometriosis. A devout Catholic, Amess had been described as one of parliament’s most dedicated anti-abortion activists. He was knighted in the 2015 new year honours list for political and public service.

Most of his campaigning efforts in recent years were associated with the Essex coastal town he represented, including his long-running campaign to make Southend a city.

12月中 2019, he secured an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the topic, telling MPs: “I am not messing about. We have got it from the prime minister that Southend is going to become a city – and it will become a city.” A proposed marina and the airport were among his supporting arguments.

He saw the Queen’s platinum jubilee next year as another opportunity, asking in November 2020 for a new statue of the Queen and for a city status competition to ensure Southend got the recognition he believed it deserved. Another campaign he supported was for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn on the white cliffs of Dover.

Addressing a short debate on the future of Southend hospital in 2017, he spoke of the “rudeness” he experienced during that year’s election campaign. “The things that people now say, 若い, middle-age or old, to we the politicians, who take the blame for decisions of bureaucrats and others who are paid twice as much as we are, 率直に言って, but the way they can use the word F, C and all the rest of it disgusts me," 彼は言った.

Amess recently wrote of how MPs had received security advice about holding surgeries, and how attacks had “spoilt the great British tradition” of the voters meeting politicians. In Ayes & Ears: A Survivor’s Guide to Westminster, which was published in November, he wrote about Jo Cox’s murder in 2016 and how she had been attacked “in the most barbaric fashion imaginable”, and about the 2000 sword attack on Nigel Jones MP, which resulted in the death of Jones’s aide Andy Pennington as he tried to protect him.

“We all make ourselves readily available to our constituents and are often dealing with members of the public who have mental health problems. It could happen to any of us,” Amess wrote. “We regularly check our locks and many others have CCTV cameras installed, but probably the most significant change has been with constituency surgeries.”

Amess and his wife, Julia, who is a part-time caseworker for her husband, had four daughters and a son. Their eldest daughter, the actor Katie Amess, was critical of her father’s stance on gay rights after he defied his friend David Cameron to vote against same-sex marriage.

The MP and his three-year-old French bulldog Vivienne were running in the forthcoming Westminster Dog of the Year Show, which promotes responsible dog ownership. “Every time I walk into the room Vivienne throws herself at me, lies on her back with her legs in the air to be tickled. But before that she always brings a toy so she is of a generous, giving nature,” he told his local newspaper website. He also regularly judged at local dog shows and supported various local animal charities.

に 1997, he was duped by Channel 4’s satirical programme Brass Eye into asking a question in parliament about the made-up drug “cake”.

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