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Monday evening UK news briefing: Southend granted city-status in tribute to work of Sir David Amess

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

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The big story: Southend gains city-status for Amess

His life was brutally and callously cut short on Friday but today Sir David Amess managed to secure one final victory for the constituents he served so selflessly for nearly four decades. 

Southend will be granted city status as a tribute to the much-loved MP, Boris Johnson announced as he expressed his admiration for one of the "nicest, kindest and most gentle" of politicians. 

Leading tributes in the Commons today, Mr Johnson praised the MP, who "simply wanted to serve the people of Essex" as a backbench Conservative. 

The Prime Minister said the Queen had agreed to the city-status move following the years-long campaign by the Southend West representative, who was murdered during a surgery for his constituents. 

The Commons erupted in cheers at the announcement.

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Mr Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and Ian Blackford led tributes, followed by a further 90 minutes of contributions from ministers and backbenchers. 

Theresa May said "you could never have a conversation with David without smiling" while other MPs told of his outrageous stories, including how he got a boiled sweet blessed by the Pope. 

Follow the affectionate, sombre, poignant and in many cases very amusing anecdotes from his friends and colleagues in our politics liveblog.

Make 'David's Law'

Among those paying tribute was Mark Francois, who was "hurting terribly" as he made his contribution. 

He suggested the Online Harms Bill should be toughened up with 'David's Law' to ensure he did not "die in vain". 

It comes as a 76-year-old man has been arrested after Labour MP Chris Bryant received death threats in response to a call for kindness in the wake of Sir David's killing. 

Earlier, Dominic Raab warned that online hate towards MPs is "out of control". 

Victoria Hewson warns the moral panic over online anonymity will not stop abusive content. 

Tom Harris analyses how no initiative can remove all the risks for MPs - but he suggests that a clamp down on the culture of abuse would help.

Widow views tributes

Earlier today, Julia Amess, the widow of Sir David, visited the site of her husband's death. 

This morning, she arrived at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, with tearful friends and family to view hundreds of flowers and tributes left in his memory. 

Wiping tears from her eyes, his widow read messages left by well-wishers. 

Family members, who stayed for 15 minutes, comforted one another, with an arm around Mrs Amess throughout. Rev Clifford Newman, the minister of Belfairs Methodist Church, shared words with Mrs Amess.

He later led the group in a short private address as they stood, heads bowed, in a semi-circle.

Comment and analysis

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