RESIDENTS have praised Sir James Duddridge for being a “genuine chap” and insisted they will be sorry to see him go after he announced he will be stepping down. 

Following the news yesterday that he would quit as Rochford and Southend East MP, the Echo took to the streets of Thorpe Bay’s Broadway, where his constituency office is based, to speak to residents. 

Many praised the outgoing MP for his long service to the area, although not everyone was disappointed to hear he would be leaving his role. 

Stan Bentley, 92, says Sir James has been a successful MP for the area and is sorry to see him go.

Mr Bentley said: “He certainly works in the community and always been there for other people.

He’s represented Southend as well as anybody.”


Businessman Charlie Abbott, 63, of Glebe Close, says Sir James was helpful in raising his concerns over imports in the House of Commons.

He said: “James has done a lot for me over the years. We had problems with people bringing stuff into the country and not paying VAT, so he followed that up for us at Question Time.

“I’ve met him a few times when he’s been out and about, and always found him easy to deal with and a genuine chap.”

Fermoy Road resident Gloria Darling, 62, describes Thorpe Bay as a “safe and comfortable” constituency, and has “no complaints” about Sir James.

“I’d be looking for an MP to deal with things people have worries or concerns about,” she added.

“That’s all you can do. Just be there for them to say ‘yes, I’m listening to your worries, and I’ll see what I can do’.”

However, some residents felt indifferent about Sir James’ impact on their community.


Margaret Albon, 76, who lives at Shoebury Garrison, said: “I’ve been extremely unimpressed with him. He has a very low profile in the area and has been a very poor replacement for Teddy Taylor. The only item that he’s raised of any value has been to not allow dogs on the beach.”


David Rylands, 72, of Saint Augustine’s Avenue, added: “James Duddridge’s impact has been pretty negligible, to be honest. The residents’ voice has probably had a bigger impact in this area than any MP.”


Mary Ruskin, 48, of Broadway, said: “I was very upset when I wrote to James Duddridge some time ago and he didn’t bother to reply. I’d particularly be pleased to have somebody who’d vote against the war in Gaza and vote in favour of a ceasefire.”