The late Sir David Amess achieved a great many things during his life - including having the Pope bless a boiled sweet.

His friend and colleague James Duddridge revealed the truth behind the myth when paying tribute to the Southend West MP yesterday in the House of Commons.

Mr Duddridge, who represents Rochford and Southend East, described Sir David as a ‘great man’ but revealed a mischievous side to the MP who would “often break all the rules”.

Mr Duddridge said Sir David would frequently make up stories when introducing him to others, for example introducing him as a lottery millionaire when attending a charity fundraiser, or calling him a ‘neighbour who had recently got out of prison’.

But the best of the tales was Sir David’s ‘holy sweet’ – which he somehow had blessed by the Pope.

Mr Duddridge said: “David was a regular visitor to the Vatican giving his faith and in the receiving line, perhaps slightly absentmindedly being used to these things, people were getting items blessed.

“David – having a sore throat – reached into his pocket for a boiled sweet.

“David got his timing wrong.

“The Pope took the sweet thinking it was a revered object to be blessed, blessed the revered object and David had to put it in his pocket. A holy sweet.

“When David would tell the anecdote, as he would do many a time, he would reach into his pocket and say ‘this is the sweet that was blessed’.

Mr Duddridge went on to thank the Prime Minister for announcing that Southend will be made a city, saying “it means a lot to everybody, it really does”.

He said: “The impact of David’s death has been profound on the city. Southend are in shock. And I am in shock.

“We all in Southend assumed David would go on forever. The late Eric Forth told me that David would be the Father of the House.”

Mr Duddridge described Sir David as “sprightly”, and said: “I just felt that there was more ahead of him than behind him. Sadly his future was stolen from us all, and Southend and this House are poorer for it.

“David listened. David cared. David delivered. He had a knack of getting things done. This is not the last of David, he lives on in us all.”