POLITICAL parties have joined to condemn UKIP for fielding a candidate in Sir David Amess’s seat, saying his “tragic death is being used for political gain”.

Since Sir David’s death, party sources from Labour and Liberal Democrats have suggested no candidates from both parties will be standing as a mark of respect.

However, UKIP has now announced it will have Steve Laws standing as a candidate for the Southend West parliamentary by-election.

Following the strong words from the UKIP national party chairman about why the party is fielding a candidate, Daniel Nelson, a Tory councillor, and representative of the Southchurch Ward, spoke of his disgust.

He said: “UKIP’s words are utterly disgusting.

“To try to use Sir David’s tragic death for political gain and blatant publicity truly shows the true colours of UKIP.

“They truly are the nasty party of politics and although I believe democracy should always exist in the United Kingdom, it is clear that the far-right extremists of our country do not have any respect for Sir David or Sir David’s family or those that loved him dearly, such as myself.

“They should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.”

Labour Party councillor and St Laurence Ward representative, Daniel Cowan, said: “It is deeply shameful that parties and individuals are considering contesting the Southend West seat, going against the convention in such cases to step aside for the incumbent party.

“The appropriate place to challenge for a seat that is so tragically vacant is at the next general election where candidates can make their case. Standing for this seat, under these circumstances, is simply disrespectful and opportunistic.

“I wish Sir David’s successor well and hope for the sake of democracy and decency that the campaign is fair and respectful to Sir David’s memory and his grieving family.”

Sir David Amess had held the Southend West seat since 1997 and held the seat again in 2019 with a majority of 14,459.

Rebecca Harris, the MP for Castle Point, expressed her disappointment.

“This is a very disappointing choice when other parties have respectfully chosen not to”