A tribute to Sir David Amess MP
Parliament will pay tribute to Sir David Amess MP today - a dedicated MP and a loyal public servant to his constituents in Southend West.
It is difficult to put into words the deep shock and profound sense of loss felt across Parliament - and the whole country - following David's cruel murder at his constituency surgery.
The openness of MPs to meet their constituents is the bedrock of British democracy. Few other countries have representatives as accessible. It's a part of the job that David loved - it's saddening that a sick coward exploited his devotion to helping people to kill him.
Although I have only been in Parliament for a short time alongside David, I can attest that he was unfailingly polite, kind, optimistic and cheerful. Every time I met him, he had a large smile and always brought good humour to Parliament.
I hope that Southend becomes a city in his memory - it was a long-running campaign of David's for a community he passionately championed.
I want to thank the constituents who have contacted me since David's murder with kind words. It is a privilege to be the MP for Orpington - but events like these are worrying. We must ensure vigorous democratic debate does not descend into hostility and violence.
David's family, friends and staff will be in my thoughts and prayers today as Parliament remembers him.