David Amess, who served as the Conservative MP for Basildon and later Southend West, has died after being stabbed at his constituency office, Essex police say.
Amess, 69, was selected to fight the marginal Basildon constituency in Essex after his predecessor, the Tory MP Harvey Proctor, opted to vacate the seat in order to occupy the new and safer constituency of Billericay, and fought two close elections in 1987 and 1992. His memorable celebration following his surprise survival in the latter election – arms held aloft, grinning ear to ear – became one of the iconic images of the 1992 contest.
In the run-up to the 1997 election, Amess, like Proctor before him, opted to fight a newly created and safer constituency in the shape of Southend West, but he never treated the seat as if it were any less marginal than his old Basildon one, working it tirelessly and devotedly. In addition to back-bench campaigns on issues personally dear to him, such as animal rights and Brexit, he was also a vocal campaigner on matters brought to him by his constituents, ranging from endometriosis to the condition of the Essex Thameside railway.
A social conservative and Eurosceptic from the Conservatives’ right, he was well-liked across the party as a result of the kindness and diligence he showed to his constituency.