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Emotional church service for Sir David Amess

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BORIS Johnson bowed his head as MPs from all parties sat side by side during a moving church service for Sir David Amess.

The Prime Minister was seated next to his political opponent, Sir Keir Starmer, as religious leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury Bishop Justin Welby led a prayer and remembrance service for the Tory MP who was fatally stabbed in his constituency on Friday.

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

Silent murmurs filled the church, until all fell silent when the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon of Westminster, began the service.

The congregation, including Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, knelt as prayers were read by people including the Archbishop of York, Bishop Stephen Cottrell.

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 looked down at the floor a few seats away.

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

Labor MP Kim Leadbeater, who represented Parliament in her late sister Jo Cox’s constituency following her assassination in 2016, fixed her eyes on the choir as she sang Edward Elgar’s Nimrod and Herbert Howells’ Psalm Prelude .

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

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

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

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


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