Sir David Amess’ bitch Vivienne was named Westminster Dog of the Year.
Sir David, the Conservative MP from Southend West, was stabbed to death on October 15 while meeting with voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Westminster Dog of the Year organizers, the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, say the French Bulldog is a “fitting winner” of this year’s competition.
Accompanied by MPs Andrew Rosindell and Mark Francois, the three-year-old dog wore a bandana that read “City of Southend,” a reference to Sir David’s longstanding campaign to make Southend a city. Southend was granted city status days after the MP’s death.
When Vivienne took part in the competition, Sir David said: “When I feel bad, the bitch lifts my spirits as she is always happy to see me and she makes me smile.”
Sir David added: “Every time I enter the room Vivienne throws herself on me, lying on her back, her legs in the air to be tickled.
“But before that she always brings a toy so that she has a generous, giving nature.”
After the MP’s death, Vivienne became a firm favorite to win with a campaign calling for people to vote for Sir David’s pet.
Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb urged her Twitter followers to cast their votes for Sir David and Vivienne.
She wrote: “The Westminster Dog of the Year Show is on October 28th and my Sid has been registered – but please support me and vote for the beautiful Vivienne, David Amess’s dog.
“David, as you know, lost his life in a shocking incident on Friday.”
Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin joined the calls and wrote, “Westminster Dog of the Year is next week.
“As much as we love Cadi, please support me by voting for Sir David Amess and his beautiful French bulldog Vivienne.
“David’s love for animals was second to none. He is sorely missed.”
Westminster Dog of the Year is a competition for Members of Parliament and their dogs to help raise awareness of what is being done for the welfare of dogs in Parliament.
This year 23 MPs proposed their dogs for the title.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said that Kennel Club : “The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is so much more than a dog beauty pageant.
“The competition is strictly non-political; Judges are more likely to look for the dogs’ good deeds and devotion to their owner than guidelines or opinions.
“It’s a fun day that has an important message at its core – to help promote dog welfare and responsible husbandry.”
Sir David was known for his assistance with animal welfare issues.
When Vivienne entered the competition, he said, “Pet theft is a huge problem and more needs to be done to ensure that vets check microchips and encourage owners to have their dogs chipped.”