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House of Commons is 'a chamber full of amateurs' - MP
11:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in Echo News
AN MP has accused his House of Commons colleagues of being amateurs, compared with the “giants” of Margaret Thatcher’s day.
David Amess, Tory MP for Southend West, made the comparison as he paid tribute to his former party leader, who died in April, in a passionate speech on her achievements in Westminster.
The MP, who served under Mrs Thatcher for seven years after his election as MP for Basildon in 1983, told the Commons: “In those days, the chamber was full of giants.
“There were many experts and I was in awe of everyone, but 30 years on I am not in awe of anyone.
“I feel this is now a chamber of amateurs.”
Revealing that Mrs Thatcher was the reason he joined the Conservative Party, Mr Amess credited the Iron Lady with rescuing the British economy, the fall of the Berlin Wall and building the Channel Tunnel.
He also claimed she was the reason he unexpectedly held on to his Basildon seat after she left the Commons in 1992.
Mr Amess, who also thanked Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois, then his campaign manager, said: “I was under the cosh, as my right honourable friend, the member for Rayleigh and Wickford will attest, as he ran the campaign team in his remarkable way.
“Every single journalist, not only local and national but international, descended on Basildon because they had been told by my enemies that Barclays bank tellers were to be brought in to do the count, it would be done within an hour and they would see live on TV the first Conservative to lose their seat.
“Who came to my rescue?
Margaret Thatcher. Three days before the General Election, she arrived, as always magnificently dressed in blue, and she was given a heroine’s welcome.
“I owe her everything, and that was particularly true in 1992.”
T h e party loyalist, who has voted with his leadership 99 per cent of the time since moving to Southend West in 1997, attacked his Tory colleagues who brought Mrs Thatcher’s leadership to an end in 1990 and revealed he even backed her most controversial policy, the “poll tax”.
Mr Amess spoke of his support for the replacement for domestic rates, ultimately abolished in 1993, in his maiden speech in 1983.
He told MPs: “She stood up for Britain in Europe and liberated the Falkland Islands from the Argentine invaders.
“She stood up for freedom and democracy against the tyranny of communism. She defeated socialism.
“She believed the Government should create the conditions under which every human being should be given the opportunity to make the most of their lives.
“She made this country and our world better places in which to live.
“She is certainly the greatest politician I have ever met, and I am just so blessed to have worked in Parliament under her leadership.”
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