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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 14:47 GMT
Tributes paid to Lord Islwyn
Lord Islwyn
Lord Islwyn has been described as a 'distinguished politician'
Tony Blair has led tributes to one of Wales' longest serving politicians, the former Newport MP Roy Hughes, who has died at the age of 78.

The Oxford-educated son of a miner served as a Labour frontbench spokesman on Welsh affairs during the 1980s and was also chair of the Welsh Parliamentary Party and the Welsh Grand Committee.

"Roy Hughes spent nearly four decades at Westminster and for 31 of those years was a dedicated and hard-working MP for the people of Newport," said the prime minister.

"Roy was also a committed trade unionist and very active member of the T&G, chairing the parliamentary group twice during his years in the Commons."

After his election to Westminster in 1966, Mr Hughes finally stood down as an MP in 1997, accepting a life peerage and becoming Lord Islwyn.

Lord Islwyn ensured that the voice of the people of Newport was heard in Westminster
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain

The politician had been ill for some time, and suffered a stroke while on a Mediterranean cruise two weeks ago.

He died at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny following a heart attack.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain also paid tribute to the former MP, who was a devoted campaigner for compensation for miners and opposed the decline of the steel industry.

"Lord Islwyn ensured that the voice of the people of Newport was heard in Westminster," he said.

"The son of a coal miner, he came from a traditional Labour background, having held various offices in the Transport and General Workers'

'Great servant'

"I know that Lord Islwyn was especially proud last year when his beloved Newport was granted city status. He will be sadly missed."

Newport West MP Paul Flynn said that Lord Islwyn would be remembered as a 'great servant'.

"He presented himself as an stalwart trade unionist and left-winger. He remained loyal to his principles and to his roots through four decades.

"He judged his greatest achievement to be the second Severn Road Bridge. His campaign was persistent and persuasive.

"The then leader of the Labour party Michael Foot once suggested that the bridge should be named the Roy Hughes bridge."

Allan Mayne from the T&G in Pontypool worked with Lord Islwyn during his time as MP.

"He had great loyalty to Newport and he will be sadly missed by everyone," he said.

Leader of Newport city council, Sir Harry Jones, expressed his sadness at the death of Lord Islwyn.

"Roy was a stalwart servant of the city in his 31 years as MP for Newport East".

He went on to say that he was a determined and hard working man with a passion for rugby and for polictics who was admired and well regarded by all those who knew him.

Lord Islwyn leaves a widow, three children and four grandchildren.



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