“On behalf of my Rt Hon and Hon friends, I rise to record the common and unified voice of the people of Northern Ireland who share in the grief and sorrow at the loss of our esteemed and much loved colleague and friend.
Words cannot adequately describe, nor suitably express our heartfelt sympathy, but through the words that have been spoken here today, and across our country in recent days, I pray that they sustain and give strength to David’s family.
No one will feel the loss of David more than his family. To his wife Julia, his beloved children and wider family circle, on behalf of this party, I offer my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy and trust and pray that almighty God, the greatest of comforters, will draw near to them all.
David epitomised the true meaning of public service.
He was the model parliamentarian.
He sought office not for self, but to serve others, influenced by his deep Christian faith.
To champion the needs of the most vulnerable, to give a voice to the voiceless and to stand up for the interests of the people of Southend West.
David’s greatest joy came not in holding office, but in how he could use that office, to improve the everyday lives of those he was honoured to represent.
The people of Southend West have lost their greatest champion and I Mr Speaker, like Members on all sides of this House, have lost a dear friend.
The plaques at the entrance door to this Chamber, in memory of Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Anthony Berry, Ian Gow and Jo Cox are a daily reminder to us all of the threat our democracy faces in modern times.
In Northern Ireland, all parties in this Chamber have experienced these threats, and the loss of dear colleagues at the hands of the enemies of democracy.
Today this House sends a clear and resounding message, that democracy in the United Kingdom will never be supressed.
Our voices will never fall silent.
And we will never allow evil to triumph over good.
David taught us all the true meaning of public service, he showed us all the true value of public office and provided us all with a true example of faith in public life.
His legacy lives on in all those causes and communities he championed, in the lives he improved and in all of those he inspired.
It now falls upon us all to take forward the beacon of hope along the path that David led us, and to ensure the flame of his legacy is never extinguished.
This House is the poorer for his loss and this country mourns the tragic passing of one of its most faithful servants.
Our response to this is simple. When one of us falls, another will step forward. Together, we will continue to defend the values and ideals that David stood for and that are the foundation stones of this great nation.”