Tributes to Sir Tony Lloyd | Commons debates

It is so sad that today we are paying tribute to our dear friend and colleague, and my constituency neighbour, Tony. I have listened to so many stories this afternoon, and it is a testament to the person Tony was that people from all sides of the House have spoken so strongly about him. I hope that provides some comfort to his family and his staff, who I know loved him so much.

One thing that sticks out is not only the enormous impact that Tony had on British politics, but the high regard in which he was held, which is quite unusual in this place. What has really stood out is that almost everyone has an individual story and mentions his kindness. I absolutely agree with that. My recollection is of the kindness he showed me when I was a new MP and he was chair of the parliamentary Labour party.

As police and crime commissioner, Tony organised a roundtable on tackling violence against women and girls. He invited me along because he knew that I was passionate about that. He showed such empathy to the women who were there because of their experiences. I also remember his help in a constituency case for a mum who had lost her son to murder. Again, the way he was with her was quite remarkable. Most recently, when we knew that Tony was poorly, I was really keen to organise a Parliamentarians for Peace event—thank you for that, Mr Speaker—and as soon as I sent the message around, he was the first to respond, saying, “Yes, we must do something. I’ll be there.” Unfortunately, he was not able to be there, but I knew that he absolutely wanted to be.

Tony was the embodiment of politics as public service: deeply humble, conscientious and compassionate. He worked tirelessly in the interests of his constituents, not for himself. As a constituency neighbour, I know the work that Tony put into his work in Rochdale. He called me just before Christmas, because there was a particular issue that he said he needed my help on and wondered whether the wording of a letter was just right. The way he worked was so collaborative; it was quite special. Tony was not interested in politics as a game or a sport. He was passionate about changing lives and our politics being the vehicle to do just that. I will always think about his poignant words when speaking to a young constituent:

“For me politics is about all people, it’s that sense of human solidarity that matters. If it’s not about making people’s lives better, don’t be a politician.”

I ask all colleagues, in Tony’s memory, to redouble our efforts to make people’s lives better. Rest in peace, Tony.

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