The Tory MP entered his dog into the competition before his death, telling voters his companion ‘always lifted his spirits and made him smile’.
But the animal lover was killed before he got to see her victory on Thursday.Vivienne, who is three, scooped the prize after ‘tens of thousands’ of people voted for her online. She was escorted by MPs Mark Francois and Andrew Rosindell, who were pictured giving her cuddles.
Mr Rosindell said he ‘couldn’t feel more sadness’ at the thought that Sir David should have been the one by Vivienne’s side. He said: ‘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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Boris Johnson had encouraged the public to vote for Sir David’s dog earlier in October.
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He said: ‘Vivienne brought David great joy and happiness, and this award would be a wonderful tribute to his memory and love of animals.’
After the win was announced, the prime minister tweeted: ‘Congratulations Vivienne. David would have been very proud.’Only MPs had thrown their support behind the campaign, with Suzanne Webb, who represents Stourbridge, even asking her followers vote for Vivienne rather than her own dog Sid.
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Describing his friendship with his pet before his death, Sir David said: ‘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 Westminster Dog of the Year competition is open to all canines belonging to MPs and Lords.
Organisers say it is designed to celebrate the special relationship between human and dogs.
Sir David was stabbed to death on October 15 while meeting people in his Essex constituency. He will be laid to rest at Westminster Cathedral on November 23. Ali Harbi Ali, 25, has been charged with murder and could go on trial in March.
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