Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston writes for the Standard.
I MUST start this month’s Westminster Diary with a tribute to Sir David Amess.
He died after being stabbed at a constituency surgery and will be remembered as one of the kindest people in politics.
He was one of the first people to welcome me to Parliament in 2015.
He was a dedicated public servant and will be greatly missed by his constituents and his many friends on both sides of the Chamber of the House of Commons.
On our return from conference recess, we honoured this wonderful man with speeches in the Chamber and in a special memorial service in St Margaret’s Church. The mood was sombre but with many touching speeches highlighting Sir David’s many achievements – including a key goal, granted this weekend, for Southend to be given city status.
It goes without saying that this is not how any of us envisaged returning from a busy break for conference, and after each party hosted events in different cities showcasing different policies, the tragic loss of a colleague has been a unifying moment.
Aside from spending time in Manchester where the Conservative Party Conference was held, during the recess I headed to the south west of the country in my capacity as Tourism Minister to promote our domestic tourism industry, visiting locations which recently received culture recovery grants.
I’ve also spent time in the constituency where I’ve met with farmers and local businesses and also the JobCentre in Evesham to hear how they’re helping young people find apprenticeships.
And I visited the new Honeybourne Village Hall – which opened this summer – meeting with the Parish Council and community team.
In another milestone leading up to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, I participated in the launch of the Queen’s Baton from Buckingham Palace.
The Baton, carrying a message inside from the Queen, will make a tour round all the Commonwealth countries before arriving in the West Midlands for the start of the Games in July next year.
What started out as a month focused on progress has turned into tragic loss and sadness, and my thoughts remain with Sir David’s family, friends and of course constituents at this difficult time.