“Make Southend a city”. This was the phrase that MP David Amess repeated at the end of every parliamentary speech he did, no matter what the cause. On Monday, the eighteenth of October, it was announced that the Queen had made the decision to do exactly that. However, unfortunately, Sir David Amess will not see this dream of his be fulfilled, as he was tragically stabbed to death during a public surgery for his local constituency in Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-sea on Friday, the fifteenth of October.  

The announcement that Southend will be gaining the coveted status of ‘city’ came from Prime minister Boris Johnson. The Prime minister confirmed the Queen’s decision before going on to say that Amess’s “priorities lay” with the “distinguished town” of Southend, demonstrated by the fact that “Sir David spent almost forty years in this house, but not one day in ministerial office”. Leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, claimed that the long-awaited recognition of Southend as a city is “a fitting tribute to Sir David’s hard work”, whilst also acknowledging that he is “so pleased” by the Queen’s decision.  

It is an announcement that will surely ignite happiness and hope for the citizens of Southend, who have had to deal with the tragic news surrounding the death of their MP. Hopefully, the devastation and shock caused by Sir David’s death can incite better protection for other MPs who are just trying to do their job, especially as this is not the first time that a MP has been killed. Since the second world war, six British MPs have been killed including the tragic deaths of Jo Cox, Ian Gow, Sir Anthony Berry, Robert Bradford and Airey Neave. It is clear that better protection needs to be put in place for MPs.   

In the week of his funeral, it is important to look back on and to celebrate the life of Sir David Amess. Although Sir David is unable to see his dream of Southend being titled a city come to fruition, it is still an absolute tribute to the man and MP who fought for Southend to gain city status.