‘David Amess’ huge grin was as familiar as Big Ben, he was the best of MPs’

Political Editor Nigel Nelson pays his own tribute to MP David Amess, who he knew for 35 years, saying he was always there with a smile to lift people’s spirits

Much-loved and devoted MP Sir David Amess

In the 35 years I knew David Amess, I never saw him without a smile on his face.

That broad and cheeky grin made him a delight to run into in the corridors of Westminster. No matter how low one’s own spirits were, a few minutes with David was sure to lift them.

He arrived in Parliament in 1983, three years before me, when Margaret Thatcher ruled the roost. And nearly four decades later, in his 70th year, he was still such a constant presence that he seemed as much a fixture as Big Ben.

That is why we cannot believe he is gone.

David Amess served as an MP for nearly 40 years

The Commons without David will be like Parliament without that clock.

David never sought high office. Not for him the greasy pole of ministerial advancement, only to slide down again.

Instead he cherished his work for constituents as a perpetual backbench MP, never failing to mention his constituency – first Basildon then Southend West – when he rose to speak in Parliament.

And he embraced causes from animal rights to Middle East peace, championing bans on fox hunting and trophy hunters, turning out at rallies in support of Iran’s exiled resistance movement.

Words of tribute have included gentle, kind, funny and caring but he was also something else.

As one MP told me yesterday: “David was the best of us.”

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