A parliamentary aide who used to work with Sir David Amess recalled some of her best memories with the late MP on Twitter.
Becky Paton explained that “it’s been a difficult weekend to process” after her former boss was brutally stabbed to death on Friday, but shared a long and emotional tribute to honour his memory.
Paton explained: “Seeing every photo being shared, he’s always smiling, usually with a dog in tow, beautifully sums up the man.”
She said, “the most important thing he taught me was to start with kindness and the only thing that matters is how many people you help” as “everything else in politics is just ego”.
Haven’t been able to post yet, it’s been a difficult weekend to process. I worked for David Amess in Parliament, and ahead of the tributes in the House tomorrow I wanted to post my own… Thread 1/
— Becky Paton 🦋 (@rpaton11) October 17, 2021
She continued: “For constituents he had time for everyone.
“No problem was too big or small. He was there to listen and help.
“He knew so many personally by name.
“He kept a list of all the constituents who’d thanked him for his help to send a handwritten Christmas card every year.”
She also pointed out that he was always “name-checking the constituent or campaigner personally in Parliament”.
Remembered by many as an ardent animal-lover, he reportedly had “half a dozen budgies and fish” in his Westminster office despite being persistently reminded by officials that “animals were not allowed in Parliament”.
Paton added that the long-serving parliamentarian – who was the MP for Southend West since 1997 – finished every speech with the words: “And that’s why Southend should become a city!”
Paton concluded: “Most of all, he had the most infectious sense of fun.
“There was so much laughter in his office. Decorations were serious business.”
She recalled how he loved practical jokes and would terrify cabinet ministers with his Halloween decorations outside of his Westminster office.
Paton also remembered how he even bought Christmas stockings filled with gifts for her two cats.
David M. Benett via Getty Images
Amess has been lovingly remembered by figures from across the political spectrum for his empathy and caring spirit.
His death has been declared a terrorist incident. The main suspect in the case, Ali Harbi Ali, was arrested on Friday after the fatal attack.
Prime minister Boris Johnson will launch a debate in parliament on Monday about the safety of parliamentarians as MPs pay tribute to Amess.
Conservative MP for Romford Andrew Rasindell has admitted that MPs were now “a little bit” afraid, and claimed: “If it could happen to David, it could happen to any MP.”
ITV’s Paul Brand also tweeted on Sunday that Amess’ death – just five years’ after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox – is expected to prompt some political colleagues to step down at the next election over safety concerns.
One MP tells me tonight that the feeling in Parliament is so strong that he believes some of his colleagues will leave following the killing of Sir David Amess. Probably not immediately, but perhaps standing down at the next election. That will be a great shame.
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) October 17, 2021