John Cryer – 2021 Speech in the House of Commons on David Amess

The comments made by John Cryer, the Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, in the House of Commons on 18 October 2021.

I knew David for perhaps 25 years, and for eight years we were constituency neighbours when I was the MP for Hornchurch. Following on from one of the anecdotes given by the right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), I remember David telling me a few times that people had said to him on the doorstep, particularly in Basildon, “I’m going to vote for you, David, because you’re a good Labour man.” I once said to him, “Did you ever put them right, David?” and he said “Er…”. That was the closest I got to an answer, so I think we can all deduce that he probably didn’t put them right.

We all know that David was a hyper-assiduous constituency MP. The hon. Member for Thurrock (Jackie Doyle-Price) mentioned the pre-recess Adjournment debates. For a long time, David and I were both contributors to every single—or so it seemed—pre-recess Adjournment debate. We used to call it whingeing gits day, and Members who have taken part in those debates can probably imagine why we did so. There used to be a bit of a competition between us to see who could get the greatest number of constituency topics into the debate. I think David won every time, covering perhaps eight, nine or 10 issues in his staccato way.

On a more general point, I want to say one more thing about David. There are profound and visceral issues that divide parties and individuals in this place, but they are minuscule compared with what divides us from the forces of darkness who brought this about.

Finally, on a deeply personal note—on behalf of my wife, Ellie, my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham West and Penge (Ellie Reeves), who is here, and myself—I will always remember that David always asked about our sons, our children, and how they were getting on. I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.