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18th Oct 2021

Tory MP Mark Francois gives tearful tribute to his best friend Sir David Amess

Ava Evans

‘He was potentially the best Father of the House we will now never have’

Tory MP Mark Francois has paid a fitting tribute to his best friend, Sir David Amess, in the House of Commons.

Leading the backbench tributes, he paid homage to the man who taught him “everything he ever learned about how how to be a constituency MP”.

“Without him I would never become a member of parliament” he said, joking: “some might argue he has much to answer for”.

In the witty, self-denigrating tribute, Francois apologised to the House for what would be an “even more incoherent contribution than usual”, admitting he was “hurting terribly”.

Francois praised Sir David as a “doughty champion for Basildon and then for Southend”. He described him as an “animal-lover, a patriot, a Thatcherite, a Eurosceptic, a monarchist and a staunch Roman Catholic whose faith sustained him throughout his life.

“He was a truly great friend indeed, and a fine parliamentarian.

“He was potentially the best Father of the House we will never have”.

The Tory MP commended the decision to make Southend a city in Sir David’s honour which he said “was the right thing to do”.

Mark Francois said Sir David has become increasingly concerned about the toxic environment female MPs were having to operate in.

Francois referred to a Conservative Home post, written by Nadine Dorries, in which she referenced an alarming social media post she had received that read: “I want to see you trapped in a burning car, and watch the heat from the flames as they melt the flesh from your face”.

Francois said Sir David was appalled by the vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online, and had told him very recently he wanted something done about it.

The Tory MP called on the House to toughen up the online harms bill in memory of his friend.

Francois said David was horrified by the toxic, online misogyny facing female MPs.

He confessed he’d like to “drag” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to the bar of the House “if necessary, kicking and screaming to account for their actions, or rather inactions” on making social media a safer place for people in the spotlight. 

In honour of his friend, he encouraged the social media giant to “drain the Twitter swamp”.

“All of us, wherever we come from, came here to help people”, he said.

“We may disagree sometimes passionately about how best to help people. But surely we can agree that we came here to try, for which we are now vilified, day-to-day. And I say simply enough is enough, for we all have at least one thing in common, we are legislators.

“So I humbly suggest we get on and do some legislation”.

Francois suggested renaming part of the bill “David’s law” in memory of the fallen MP.

Concluding the tribute, Francois said a tearful farewell to “David, my colleague, my great friend, in fact quite simply the best bloke I ever knew”.