A STATUE of Sir David Amess should be installed on Southend Pier after the town was granted city status.

That’s according to close friend and Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, who paid tribute to the Southend West MP in the House of Lords yesterday.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, who is from Leigh-on-Sea and grew up in Southend, told a sombre upper chamber: “This appalling murder happened in streets I know well, just around the corner from where my mum lives.”

When he was appointed to his previous role as the Bishop of Chelmsford, Mr Cottrell said Sir David had been one of the first to congratulate him.

He added: “When I was translated to York, it was the same. He thought this was another way of putting Southend on the map.

"The boy who went to a secondary modern school in Southend was now the 98th Archbishop of York. He was so pleased.”

The Archbishop added: “I reckon that now Southend has been declared a city today, forget about a statue of Vera Lynn at Dover, we are going to put a statue of David Amess at the end of Southend pier.”

Sir David had campaigned for a statue of Dame Vera to be installed prior to his death.

The Archbishop of York went on to tell the Lords that Christian love “was the source and substance of David Amess’s vision and values”.

Rev Cottrell added: “It was this that enabled him to reach across party political divides, get on well with everyone, exhibit a good humour, generosity and a kindness that is sadly, sadly often woefully lacking in public and political discourse today.

“It’s because Sir David Amess so exemplified those things, regardless of what his politics happened to be, and that is the reason why we are so easily able to come together and remember him, esteem his contribution to public life, mourn his death but not be defeated by the hatred that killed him.”