Mr Speaker, it was a true privilege to have known David Amess. He was simply one of the best people I've known in my entire life. He was a true friend. He had time for each and every one of us. He looked down on no one, he was everyone's equal. He was kind, he was generous, he was sincere. He was a man of principle and courage. He was uncompromising in what he believed to be right. He wasn't one of those who changed his views in order to progress. He knew what he believed in and he stood firm for those things. He was a man of enormous integrity, but he was a true friend to so many of us.
I knew him for around 40 years. We became friends instantly because we shared the same political views but also because we came from the same background. I am from Essex, some say East London, but I say Essex, and he knew that our instincts, coming from that neck of the woods were the same.
We hit it off from day one. We were committed to this country, we loved our country. He was a passionate believe of Britain, he was a patriot. He was a royallist who was never afraid to fly the flag and to champion Great British values. He was a Christian and was proud to be a Christian and uphold the Christian heritage of this country. He loved animals, as I do, and almost loved my dogs as much as I loved his dogs.
Many occasions I visited his home in Southend, often taking my own elderly mother. He had an elderly mother who lived until 104, and when his mum died he spoke to my mother as if she was his mother. He treated me like family.
My heart goes out to Julia and the five children, who are wonderful people. He had a fantastic family and he was dedicated, so dedicated to his constituencies, Basildon and Southend West. He lived for them and he sacrificed everything else to put his constituency first.
And I will say this Mr Speaker. The one legacy we must hold true to David is not to let his horrific murder, the horrific way he left us, to change our democracy. I remember the day after the appalling Grand Hotel bombing in Brighton in 1984 and I remember Margaret Thatcher, and he was a dedicated supporter of Margaret Thatcher, saying it's business as usual, we must carry on. I take the same view.
Whatever happens, whatever we do to protect ourselves, we must not let our democracy be undermined by that kind of evil. We must stand up to evil, defend our democracy, cherish the freedom that gives all of us the right to be here and represent our constituents, and defend and cherish the freedoms and the liberties that have held our country together for generations.
David was a fine example of a Parliamentarian, a magnificent constituency MP, a true friend, a gentleman, a truly wonderful human being. We're going to miss him, but I feel truly privileged to have known him.
Thank you David. God Bless You