DAVID Amess and Tory stalwart Ann Widdecombe have called for pro life issues to be centre stage of the next Parliament – whoever is elected.

Mr Amess, Tory candidate for Southend West, was speaking at a meeting of pro life supporters at Westcliff United Reformed Church on Thursday evening, after spending the day canvassing with Ms Widdecombe.

Mr Amess, who has always been outspoken against abortion and assisted suicide, said: “Everything I have done as an MP I have been driven by the preservation of life. So why, yet again, have pro life issues not been mentioned?

“It seems absolutely extraordinary. I think we should preserve life at all cost, whether that is limits on abortion or not paving the way for assisted suicide.

“Politics has gone down the tube since I have been an MP. So many trivial things are discussed and if we raise important issues we are seen as cranks or religious eccentrics.”

Ms Widdecombe, who is standing down as an MP, said she always supported Mr Amess in his campaigns.

She said: “I’m with David. We need to help the helpless. The unborn have no voice other than what Parliament give to them. It’s crucial we send as many pro life MPs to Parliament as possible. A Conservative majority has a bigger pro life presence.”

The MPs also took questions from the 40 or so people at the meeting.

One, a teacher nearing retirement, voiced her concerns about the Conservatives’ plans to end final salary pensions.

Ms Widdecombe said: “There is no way someone who has contributed to a final salary pension scheme is going to suddenly find the schemes closed. It will be closed to new entrants.

“There will be changes, but it won’t affect anyone coming up towards retirement. But we have to start reigning in spending on pensions.”

Another audience member asked Mr Amess why he has a second home when his constituents commute to London and why he had been to the Maldives twice on parliamentary time.

Mr Amess said: “An MP works seven days a week and five of them in Parliament. We often used to work until 4am scritinising legislation.

“That’s why we had second homes.

“When our working hours shortened and a time limit was put on Bills our work was less and less. Changes to second homes should have been made then.

“MPs need to be allowed to travel abroad. I’m not a local councillor I’m supposed to be interested in world affairs.

“If business is legitimate it should be allowed, and my business was legitimate.”