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Sir David Amess’s French bulldog crowned Westminster Dog of the Year

·3-min read

Sir David Amess’s dog Vivienne has been named Westminster Dog of the Year.

The three-year-old French bulldog had been entered in the annual competition, which promotes responsible dog ownership, before the Conservative MP was stabbed to death in his constituency earlier this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sir David “would have been very proud”.

As part of the entry, Sir David said Vivienne “lifts my spirits as she is always pleased to see me and she makes me smile”.

He added: “Every time I walk into the room Vivienne throws herself at me, lies on her back with her legs in the air to be tickled.

“But before that she always brings a toy so she is of a generous, giving nature.”

The Southend West MP had entered the competition more than a dozen times, having previously entered with his rescue dogs Lilly and Bo.

Westminster Dog of the Year
Vivienne’s owner, Sir David Amess, was a devoted animal lover (David Parry/PA)

Sir David described himself on his website as a “great animal lover”, something that was reflected in his record in Parliament.

He was responsible for introducing the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act in 1988, campaigned to stop the testing of domestic products on animals, tackled the illegal wildlife trade, and fought for an end to puppy farming, according to his website.

He opposed the culling of badgers and was one of the few Tory MPs in favour of a foxhunting ban.

In his most recent Commons intervention, on September 23, he called for a debate on “animal welfare generally, cruelty to animals and the welfare of farmyard animals” to mark World Animal Day on October 4.

The Tory veteran was a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and won the Dods Animal Welfare and Environment Award in 2011 for his work on the issue.

He also regularly judged at local dog shows and supported various local animal charities.

Mark Beazley, chief executive of the Kennel Club, which organised the Westminster Dog of the Year competition alongside the Dogs Trust, said: “Today we pay tribute to Sir David and all he has done for dog welfare, and hope to honour his legacy to protect and improve the lives of the nation’s pets, who make such a difference to so many.

“Crowning Vivienne as Westminster Dog of the Year and the public’s winner is testament to Sir David’s commitment and his passionate campaigning for animals.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of the Dogs Trust, said: “Sir David Amess… was a fantastic advocate for animal welfare and a huge dog lover, making it an honour to award his dog, Vivienne, with the coveted title of Westminster Dog of the Year today.”

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said before the competition: “No-one loved animals like David, and no-one loved their dog like David. I could not feel more sadness at the fact that it will be me chaperoning Vivienne, his dog, at the Dog of the Year, instead of him, but I also could not feel more pride to be able to pay tribute to him in this small way.”

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