Sir Tony Lloyd: Rochdale Labour MP dies ‘peacefully at home’

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Tony Lloyd has been a Labour MP since 1983
By Paul Burnell & Monica Rimmer
BBC News

Sir Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Rochdale, “died peacefully” at home on Wednesday morning, his family has said in a statement.

A post on social media from his family said he was still working a few days before his death at the age of 73.

The veteran MP revealed he had an untreatable form of leukaemia at the weekend and had been treated for blood cancer and received chemotherapy.

The family described him as “our beloved ‘Joe,’ ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandad'”.

In a statement posted on X, they added: “He died peacefully this morning surrounded by his family, as was his wish.”

Sir Tony has been a Labour MP since 1983 and was a foreign minister between 1997 and 1999, during Tony Blair’s government.

‘Values and decency’

He was later appointed as shadow housing minister and became chair of the parliamentary Labour party.

In 2020, he was admitted to intensive care after contracting Covid-19, standing down from the shadow cabinet to focus on his recovery.

He was knighted in the Queen’s 2021 birthday honours for parliamentary services.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute to Sir Tony’s “desire to make the world a better, fairer place”.

“The death of Sir Tony Lloyd today is a terrible loss. I know the entire Labour Party, and many beyond the Party, join me in sending our deepest condolences to Tony’s wife, Judith, his children, Siobhan, Angharad, Kieron and Ali, and his granddaughters, Carmen and Carys,” Sir Keir said.

“Like them, we will remember his deep commitment to Labour values and his decency.

“We will always be grateful for his dedication to public life, his devotion to his country and his desire to make the world a better, fairer place. In the Labour Party, we will honour his legacy of service to others and his commitment to justice.

“May he rest in peace.”

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle paid tribute to his “friend for almost 30 years”, saying: “Tony was the best of us – and I will miss him.”

He added: “Not only is his death a tragedy for his family and those who were so fond of him, but particularly for the House of Commons.

“When he was a shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, he came out to Chorley to canvas for me – using his charm and great humour to persuade the voters that I should be their next MP.

“He was just a genuinely nice, all-round good guy, who even at the height of his cancer treatment, made sure the good people of Rochdale were well served.”

Fellow Greater Manchester Labour MP Graham Stringer said: “Literally all his life he’s been serving different communities in Greater Manchester.”

The member for Manchester Blackley and Broughton added: “The common thread (among colleagues) is that Tony was a gentleman and kind and listened to people so it was those qualities of tolerance while he was determined to do his best for the different communities he represented.

“Putting it simply he was just a decent human being and a very good representative.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said she was “deeply saddened” by his death, adding she would miss his “friendship and his advice”.

She said: “He dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of the people he served.”

Sir Tony served as shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under Jeremy Corbyn

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replied to the family announcement on X and said: “Very sad news. My thoughts are with Sir Tony’s family, friends and the people of Manchester to whom he was devoted throughout his life.

“May he rest in peace.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Sir Tony as a “dear friend” adding “he was a good man”, who was a “pleasure to work with”.

He added: “We were elected on the same day in 1983 and I was proud to appoint him to the shadow cabinet.

“A decent, kind & fair-minded comrade. I will miss him greatly.”

Sir Tony was elected MP of Manchester Central in 1997

Sir Tony became a foreign office minister in Tony Blair’s government after Labour swept to power in the 1997 general election and also held a number of shadow cabinet roles including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under Jeremy Corbyn.

He was first elected as an MP in 1983, representing the Stretford constituency for 14 years before serving the people of Manchester Central for another 15 years.

In 2012 he became Greater Manchester’s inaugural police and crime commissioner, vacating his Westminster seat.

Three years later he was appointed interim mayor for the city region.

But the lure of Westminster was too strong to keep Sir Tony away for long and he was elected as Rochdale’s MP in May 2017.

The father-of-four was born in Stretford and attended Stretford Grammar School before studying at the University of Nottingham and Manchester Business School.

He was a lecturer from 1979 to 1983 at the University of Salford’s department of business and administration.

The former chair of the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) was also a member of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee.

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