The Queen has agreed that Southend will be given city status, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
The news comes following the murder of Sir David Amess MP at a constituency surgery on Friday. Amess, who had been the MP for Southend West since 1997, was known for being part of a long-running campaign for Southend-on-Sea to be made a city.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, Boris Johnson recalled examples from Sir David’s campaigning and made the announcement that Southend will be given city status. Remembering Amess’ campaign, Mr Johnson said “highlights of that bulging folder included a world record for most triangles being played at once; a group of stilt-walkers travelling non-stop from the Essex Coast to Downing Street; and a visiting foreign dignitary allegedly flouting protocol by saying he liked Southend more than Cleethorpes”.
The announcement came as MPs gathered in the House of Commons to pay their respects to Sir David, who had been a backbench MP for nearly 40 years. The announcement was widely welcomed by MPs, including Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, and leaders locally – though they wished the decision had been in better circumstances.
A procession of MPs gathered in St Margaret’s Church next to Westminster Abbey on Monday evening for a service to remember Sir David.
The investigation into Sir David’s murder is ongoing, with one man being held by police under the Terrorism Act 2000. A review of MPs safety and security is also ongoing, and expected to conclude in the coming days.