Southend West by-election: Voters to choose Sir David Amess successor

Sir David Amess
Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed at a constituency surgery last year.

Southend West voters are being asked to choose a successor to replace Sir David Amess this week.

Voters are set to elect Sir David's replacement following a by-election Thursday, February 3, after the Government officially triggered the Southend West by-election.

The Conservative candidate will run unchallenged by the other major parties, facing only eight fringe candidates, as a mark of respect for Sir David Amess - and a convention set following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

But some say it's the wrong move and that it should have been a full-on traditional contest.

  • James Snell, Political analyst

Conservative MP, Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on October 15.

His death reignited MPs' public safety fears, following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Sir David, who was 69 when he died, had served Southend West since 1997, and Basildon before that since 1983.

Sir David Amess with a 'Make Southend a City' face mask

Mourners at his funeral attended by top leaders and politicians from both sides of the aisles recalled him as a passionate MP, and a proud advocate for Southend.

His longtime ambition to have Southend become a city was granted posthumously, in his honour.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats will not stand candidates in the by-election contest, in respect to Sir David's memory.

Sir David Amess' funeral procession drew crowds who lined the streets.

Southend West has long been a Tory safe seat.

It has been blue since its creation in 1950, with Sir David elected on an increased majority of more than 14,400 votes at the 2019 general election.

The shock at the killing of Sir David Amess is still raw in the heart of the constituency, with some Tories angered by 'partygate' planning to protest by not voting at all, by spoiling ballot papers, or by voting for one of the eight marginal candidates who are standing.

  • What do voters make of the Tory candidate Anna Firth running unopposed by all major parties?

Ali Harbi Ali is accused of murdering Sir David.

The 25-year-old is also charged with preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September 28, 2021.

Ali entered not guilty pleas to the charges at a hearing at the Old Bailey at a court appearance in December.

Why the Southend West by-election is so unusual as voters asked to choose Sir David Amess successor