Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the Queen has agreed Southend will be granted city status following the murder of MP Sir David Amess.

The House of Commons erupted into applause as Boris Johnson announces the Queen will grant Southend city status in memory of Sir David Amess.

Mr Johnson said: “As it is only a short time since Sir David last put that very case to me in this chamber, I am happy to announce that Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves.

“That Sir David spent almost 40 years in this House, but not one day in ministerial office, tells everything about where his priorities lay.”

Downing Street has said the award of city status to Southend was a “very rare honour”.

“This was an exceptional circumstance,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“It is a very rare honour which Sir David campaigned passionately for.


“He was a tireless champion of Southend, celebrating its achievements, the work of its residents and its thriving local businesses and diversity.”

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, said he was “so pleased” at the announcement of Southend becoming a city, telling the Commons: “It is a fitting tribute to Sir David’s hard work, it really is.

“Fitting, because David delivered for the causes he championed. He passed a Bill that forced action on fuel poverty, he paved the way for better standards of fire safety and delivered protections for animal welfare.

“And no tribute that has emerged in recent days resonates more vividly than one from his former parliamentary staffer, Edward Holmes.

“In his first job out of university, Holmes forgot to tell Sir David about an urgent call that the then-prime minister, David Cameron, had made.

“He said he felt ‘terrified’ until he finally plucked up the courage to tell David, his response was typical: ‘Don’t worry about that, Edward.’ So relaxed was David, that Mr Holmes says he suspects he never called the prime minister back.


“That tells of a politician who had his priorities right, one who put his people before his party and his patch before his personal advancement.”

The Tory MP campaigned for 20 years to get the status for his beloved home town.

The Conservative was often seen in Westminster and on the campaign trail sporting “Make Southend a city” merchandise, including slogan-adorned baseball caps and face coverings.

Sir David’s family called for people to support the campaign in the wake of his killing at a surgery for constituents in Leigh on Friday.

Southend Council was due to apply for the status in December for the contest.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and also Dominic Raab, deputy prime minister have backed bestowing the title of city on the seaside town as a “wonderful tribute” to the MP’s 38 years of service.

Southend is one of several towns competing for city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.


The Prime Minister said the country and our politics needs people like Sir David Amess, and that “we will never” allow people who commit “acts of evil” to triumph over democracy and Parliament.

Mr Johnson, who opened a Commons session on the death of Sir David, said: “This country needs people like Sir David, this House needs people like Sir David, and our politics needs people like Sir David. Dedicated, passionate, firm in his beliefs, but never anything less than respectful for those who thought differently.

“Those are the values he brought to a lifetime of public service. There can be few among us more justified than him in his deep faith in the resurrection and the life to come.

“And while his death leaves a vacuum that will not and can never be filled, we will cherish his memory, we will celebrate his legacy, and we will never allow those who commit acts of evil to triumph over the democracy and the Parliament that Sir David Amess loved so much.”