Sir David Amess: Southend city bid would be a 'fitting tribute' to stabbed MP – BBC News

Making Southend a city would be the "perfect tribute" to Sir David Amess, colleagues said.
Sir David, who represented the Southend West constituency, was stabbed as he held a regular Friday meeting with constituents in Leigh-on-Sea.
He had championed Southend's bid for city status as part of The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described him as Mr Southend and said his passion for the town warmed hearts.
"When David's name is mentioned going forward he will bring great cheer and smiles," she told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
"He was Mr Southend, he was Mr Essex, he would always put Southend front and centre of his work and that was David through and through."
In December 2019, Sir David secured an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the campaign and he told MPs: "I am not messing around.
"We have got it from the prime minister that Southend is going to become a city – and it will become a city."
After the most recent Cabinet reshuffle in September, Sir David joked to the House that he was left disappointed not to be made "minister with responsibility for granting city status to Southend".
"I think it would be a very fitting tribute to Sir David, particularly as it was something he had campaigned for, for a long time," Conservative councillor for Southend Borough Council James Courtenay said.
"I suspect local politicians from across the political divide will actively support it.
"I wouldn't be surprised if a number of his Westminster colleagues were to do so as well, given that every time – well it felt like it anyway – he stood up in Parliament, he would ask if Southend could be made a city."
Liberal Democrat Carole Mulroney, council member for tourism and culture, told the BBC: "Sir David was a figurehead, he was incredibly passionate about it.
"Southend welcomes millions of people every year, it has a really successful arts festival and a huge wealth of talent. You name it – there's a club for it."
She said Sir David's killing was "a true tragedy", describing him as a "jolly chap, very witty, above all a constituency MP who reached out to an enormous amount of people."
Sir David said at the time of the bid launch: "Southend is unique and city status would provide long overdue recognition of what we have to offer.
"The longest pleasure pier in the world, a huge wealth of local talent in the arts and culture industries and a centre of educational excellence, are just a few of the things that make Southend special."
Southend Borough Council is currently led by a coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors – while the Conservatives have the most councillors.
It became a unitary authority in 1998 and has a population of more than 183,000.
Chelmsford became Essex's first city in 2012 as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Just an hour up the A12, Colchester – once the capital of Roman Britain – has just submitted its bid to become a city at the fourth attempt, as has Milton Keynes.
Applications close on 8 December.
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