Tributes to 'good guy' MP Goggins

Halstead Gazette: Labour MP Paul Goggins has died a week after collapsing while out running Labour MP Paul Goggins has died a week after collapsing while out running

Tributes have been paid to Labour MP Paul Goggins, who has died a week after collapsing while out running.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said former minister Mr Goggins was "dignified, wise, humane and loyal" and his family had been "devastated" by his death.

The 60-year-old MP for the Greater Manchester seat of Wythenshawe and Sale East died last night in Salford Hospital, with his wife Wyn and three grown-up children by his bedside.

He had been receiving treatment for a suspected brain haemorrhage after collapsing while running with his son on December 30.

In a statement released to the Manchester Evening News, his family said: "Last night Paul Goggins, our dear dad and husband, died in hospital in Salford with us by his side. We are completely heartbroken.

"He had been very ill since collapsing last week. The way in which he has been cared for at Salford Royal has been such a comfort to us and we can't thank the staff enough for this.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes we have received from so many people - a real sign of love and a reflection of the sort of person Paul/Dad was.

"We would also like to thank the media for continuing to respect our privacy at such a difficult time."

Tributes from across the political spectrum were paid to Mr Goggins, who had been an MP since 1997 and served as a minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Mr Goggins, who held the seat with a majority of 7,575 in 2010, served as minister of state for Northern Ireland and had previously been in the Home Office.

Since 2010 he had been a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, overseeing the work of the UK's spies.

Mr Miliband said: "Paul's family is devastated and heartbroken by his death. They are not alone. The Labour Party has lost one of its most dignified, humane, wise and loyal MPs.

"People from all sides of the House of Commons had the greatest affection, admiration, and genuine respect for Paul. We are deeply saddened by his passing.

"Our thoughts and our deep condolences go out first and foremost to his wife Wyn, and his children, Matthew, Theresa and Dominic. They have lost a husband and a father for whom family was at the heart of everything he held most dear.

"Paul was a man of deep faith whose commitment and strong values shone through everything he did.

"As a social worker, councillor, MP and minister, attending to the needs of the most disadvantaged was always at the core of his particularly thoughtful and dedicated service. He was held in great affection by the people of Northern Ireland for his real understanding of the challenges they faced in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement.

"I know Paul's family have been profoundly moved by the outpouring of support, love and affection they have received since Paul fell ill last week. The Labour Party has lost one of its very best and one of its own. We mourn him deeply."

Former prime minister Tony Blair said: "Paul was an outstanding public servant, a lovely man and a good friend. He was generous, decent and compassionate.

"I remember him as a great colleague who after being a distinguished minister at the Home Office was then minister for Northern Ireland where he played a very significant part in creating the circumstances for peace. My sympathy, condolences and prayers are with him and his family, of whom he was always justly proud. "

Mr Goggins served as an aide to David Blunkett when he was education secretary and followed him to the Home Office, where he became prisons and probation minister in 2003.

Former home secretary Mr Blunkett, who was a close friend, said: "All of us are literally in shock. This was someone who was in a different mould to the rest of us.

"Never in the whole of the years I knew Paul did he ever say anything unpleasant or hurtful about any other human being. He was the kind of person against whom you would benchmark your own values, and personal and political behaviour.

"When someone dies there are often eulogies paid to them that would never have been thought in their lifetime. This is different. What people feel and think now, they thought about Paul Goggins when he was alive.

"We will miss him terribly, but so will public life, given the enormous contribution that he made in the Home Office, in Northern Ireland and above all for his constituents, and his tireless work in persuading others to do the right thing. There is nothing more that can be said."

Liberal Democrat John Leech, whose Manchester Withington seat borders Mr Goggins' constituency, said: "This is terribly sad news.

"Paul was one of the good guys. My condolences go out to all his many family and friends in Manchester, the Labour Party and Parliament."

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "Paul Goggins embodied all the best qualities of an outstanding MP. Both as a minister and as a constituency MP, he was thorough, committed and professional.

"As a fellow member of the Intelligence and Security Committee I have very good cause to remember his incisive contributions to its work. Parliament and the nation have lost an outstanding talent."

Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd also paid tribute to Mr Goggins.

Mr Lloyd, a former Labour MP in Manchester, said: "I have lost a good friend, and the world has lost a man of enormous decency and human kindness. But of course Paul's wife, his children and wider family have lost someone who was at the centre of their daily lives and my thoughts go out to them.

"Paul's own personal faith and moral conviction operated as a guiding light in everything he did, both before he entered politics and as a local councillor, Member of Parliament and Government minister.

"Manchester has lost a great son. Those who are dispossessed and those who are vulnerable in an increasingly unfair society have lost a great champion.

"The only thing Paul and I ever disagreed on was his view, wrongly held, that Manchester City were the better of the two Manchester football clubs."

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the Labour MP, tweeting: "My thoughts are with the family of Paul Goggins - who have been left heartbroken by his death. He was liked and respected by MPs on all sides."

Commons Speaker John Bercow led tributes in the Chamber to Mr Goggins, describing him as "principled, eloquent, and tireless".

He said: " Paul and I entered the House together and I can honestly say I have never heard an ill word spoken of him.

"Labour to his core, he was yet the least tribal of colleagues. Whether battling against poverty, campaigning successfully for the victims of mesothelioma, working for the rehabilitation of prisoners or striving for peace in Northern Ireland, Paul was the same - principled, eloquent, and tireless but unfailingly courteous, measured and respectful.

"He always played the ball, never the man or the woman. An outstanding public servant who came into politics for all the right reasons, Paul's passing is a loss on so many levels."

Mr Goggins co-founded the all party parliamentary group Friends of Cafod and was an unpaid board member at the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales between 1998 and 2003.

Bishop John Arnold, who chairs Cafod's board of trustees, said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul Goggins and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. His was a passionate commitment to justice which knew no bounds.

"His support for Cafod's mission was exceptional and the energy, intelligence and sympathy he brought when he was working alongside the poorest communities was truly remarkable.

"Every day of his career, Paul was driven to help the most disadvantaged in society, and ensure that poverty was tackled wherever it existed. His commitment to helping others, anchored in his strong Catholic faith, served as an inspiration to us all during his lifetime, and that inspiration will live on in the years to come."

Former prime minister Mr Brown said: " Paul Goggins will be remembered as one of Britain's great champions of social justice, his strong religious beliefs leading him to campaign tirelessly for the underprivileged everywhere.

"I first met Paul when he led Church Action on Poverty in the 1980s and was then privileged to work with him when he was a well-respected minister in Northern Ireland where he showed incredible courage, exhibited saint-like patience and was a one man reconciliation agency, demonstrating yet again his strong belief in a fairer society.

"My thoughts are with his family at this time."

The Republic of Ireland's deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs Eamon Gilmore said he was "saddened" to hear of the death of Mr Goggins, who had "worked closely" with the Dublin administration during his time at the Northern Ireland Office.

"He served his constituents and the people of Northern Ireland with great integrity and wisdom and his death is a loss to the profession of politics," said Mr Gilmore. "I wish to extend my condolences to his family and to his colleagues in the British Labour Party."

Conservative MP Graham Brady, whose Altrincham and Sale West constituency bordered Mr Goggins' seat, said: 'It was a privilege to serve with Paul in the House of Commons.

"In nearly 17 years as colleagues of different parties, I don't think we ever had a cross word. Paul Goggins was a dedicated public servant, always willing to work with others for the benefit of the community; he was thoroughly decent, kind and principled.

"Victoria and I send our heartfelt sympathy to Wyn and the family; we will miss him and remember him with the greatest respect and affection."

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