Tory MP Calls For 'David's Law' Amid Emotional Tributes to Amess

MPs across the Commons shared their memories of Amess on Monday afternoon.
Conservative Party MP Mark Francois speaks in the chamber of the House of Commons
Conservative Party MP Mark Francois speaks in the chamber of the House of Commons
House of Commons via PA Wire/PA Images

A friend of Sir David Amess has called for the creation of a “David’s Law” in his honour, to crackdown anonymous abuse by online trolls.

Mark Francois said Amess had become “increasingly concerned” about the “toxic environment” in which MPs had to operate.

The Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford said Amess was “appalled” by misogynistic abuse women MPs endured online and wanted “something done about it”.

Francois went on to say he was minded to drag Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter to the bar of the House: “If necessary kicking and screaming so they can look us all in the eye and account for their actions or rather their inactions that make them even richer than they already are.”

David Amess MP with former Prime Minister Theresa May
David Amess MP with former Prime Minister Theresa May
Zoe Norfolk via Getty Images

He said: “If the social media companies don’t want to help us drain the Twitter swamp, then let’s compel them to do it by law because they’ve had more than enough chances to do it voluntarily.”

The former minister told the Commons that politicians were “systematically vilified, day after day”, adding: “I simply say to you ladies and gentlemen that enough is enough.”

Francois said if they want to ensure their colleague did not die in vain, they should take the forthcoming Online Harms Bill and toughen it up “markedly”.

“Let’s put – if I may be so presumptuous – David’s Law onto the statute book,” he added.

Francois was among a number of MPs across the House of Commons who paid tribute to Amess on Monday afternoon.

Prime minister Boris Johnson opened the tributes by announcing that the Queen had agreed Southend will be granted city status.

Johnson said: “This House has lost a steadfast servant, we’ve lost a dear friend and colleague, and Julia and her children have lost a loving husband and devoted father.

“Nothing I or anyone else can say can lessen the pain, the grief, the anger they must feel at this darkest of times.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he wanted to lean across and acknowledge the pain felt on the Tory benches, saying he remembered how “acutely” Jo Cox’s loss was felt on his benches.

He added: “We are united in our grief, at this terrible time. We are thinking of David and his family. Of course our differences matter, after all that’s what democracy is about, but today we’re reminded that what we have in common, matters far more.”

'Why' - a mural of Sir David Amess by local artist Madmanity at a skate park in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
'Why' - a mural of Sir David Amess by local artist Madmanity at a skate park in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Aaron Chown - PA Images via Getty Images

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater recalled the moment she was told her sister Jo Cox had been attacked, and described the “rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience”.

She said she did not know Amess personally, but said he “was clearly a well-respected and much loved colleague to many people in this place”.

She said: “It’s been a traumatic few days for many people, none more so than David’s family and friends, and it’s they who remain at the forefront of my mind this afternoon.

“But sadly I know from my own all-too-similar experience that in reality there is nothing anyone can say to make things all right for them. But nor is it any use to stay silent.

“I do have a unique perspective on what those closest to David are going through and I want to send them my love, support and solidarity, from myself, my parents, our family, and the people of Batley and Spen.

“I have blocked out much of what happened when Jo was murdered, but I remember very clearly the moment I took the phone call saying she had been attacked. I remember physically trembling, and the visceral pain that overtook me.

“And it breaks my heart to think that another family has had to experience that phone call, and the nightmare which follows. It’s a rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience.”

Home secretary Priti Patel said it was “agonising” to know they would not see Amess’s “wonderful” smile again.

“Decency ran through him like the writing in a stick of Southend rock. David represented all that was good about this place,” she said.

Former prime minister Theresa May said every MP had “lost a friend” and added: “Laughter, service, compassion – these are three of the words that spring to my mind when I think of Davis Amess.

“Laughter because you could never have a conversation with David without laughter and smiling, whether it was because of one of the outrageous stories he was telling – perhaps about one of his colleagues or somebody else – but there were always smiles, always laughter, always fun around David.”

May said Amess’s constituency has lost a “much respected and loved” MP and added: “This House has lost a remarkable and valued parliamentarian, and every member of this House has lost a friend. May he rest in peace.”