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MPs sit shoulder to shoulder at emotional service for Sir David Amess

By PA News

Boris Johnson bowed his head as MPs from all parties sat shoulder to shoulder at an emotional church service for Sir David Amess.

The Prime Minister sat beside his political opponent, Sir Keir Starmer, as religious leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, led a service of prayer and remembrance for the Conservative MP who was fatally stabbed in his constituency on Friday.

About 800 MPs and peers, dressed in black, filed into St Margaret’s Church next to Westminster Abbey in silence, as muffled organ music played.

Quiet murmuring filled the church, until all fell silent as the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon of Westminster, began the service.

The congregation, including Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, knelt while prayers were read by individuals including the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell.

Former prime minister Theresa May (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Former prime minister Theresa May (Jonathan Brady/PA)

At one point during the service, Mr Johnson put his head in his hands and Sir Keir bowed his head.

Mr Rees-Mogg wiped his eyes as Home Secretary Priti Patel turned her gaze to the ground a few seats away.

The congregation sang hymns, accompanied by St Margaret’s Consort, a white-robed choir conducted by Greg Morris.

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, who stood for Parliament in her late sister Jo Cox’s constituency after she was killed in 2016, fixed her eyes on the choir as they sang Nimrod by Edward Elgar and Psalm Prelude by Herbert Howells.

(Left-right) Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (Jonathan Brady/PA)
(Left-right) Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A similar service was held in the church for Ms Leadbetter’s sister five years ago, after Mrs Cox was murdered in her Batley and Spen constituency.

Mr Welby remembered the MPs who had been killed before Sir David, including Jo Cox, and thanked politicians for the risk they take serving the public.

MPs spoke in lowered voices at the end of the service, following the Prime Minister as they filing out of the church as organ music played.

The bells of St Margaret’s were rung half-muffled to mark the end of the service, as the politicians slowly made their way out to the streets of Westminster.

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