Southend West MP David Amess and his Conservative colleague from Rayleigh and Wickford, Mark Francois, held a special event in the House of Commons recently to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the famous victory in Basildon, during the 1992 General Election.
David and Mark invited local party activists, who had assisted in the campaign 20 years ago, to visit the House of Commons to help mark what became a memorable night when David Amess famously held Basildon, heralding John Major’s victory in the 1992 General Election. Guests watched video footage of election night, including the declaration of the results in what was then the old Festival Hall (which no longer exists) but which was located at what is now known popularly as “Bas Vegas”.
The event also commemorated the subsequent local elections in Basildon, which took place a month later, when the Conservatives swept the board and took control of what was then Basildon District Council for the first time since the authority had been created. David Amess has also published a booklet, “Basildon 1992: Against All Odds” as a record of that time.
The two MPs and their supporters from that period were also joined by the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, who had been invited as a special surprise guest and who recounted the story of how he had been a staffer in Conservative Central Office at the time and remembered the result coming through on television. After the meeting, the Prime Minister posed for a photograph with David and Mark, other MPs and local activists to help commemorate the event.
Commenting on the occasion, Mark Francois said:
“Anyone who remembers the 1992 General Election will know that the result in Basildon, which was one of the first to be declared that night, revealed that David Amess has confounded the pollsters and held Basildon for the Conservatives. As soon as this result was declared people around the country knew the Conservatives were likely to win the General Election and that John Major would be returned as Prime Minister. I was involved in running the canvass for that campaign, as a Basildon councillor and one of David’s supporters and the whole experience was one that I will never forget. It was good to get together with local activists from that era to celebrate a memorable victory and we were all delighted when the Prime Minister was able to drop in to share his experiences of the campaign as well. All in all it was a great night and helped to remember an iconic moment in British politics”.