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Saturday, March 28, 1998 Published at 16:13 GMT



UK: Politics

Baroness Lestor of Eccles dies aged 66
image: [ Baroness Lestor of Eccles championed trade union, child care and anti-racism issues ]
Baroness Lestor of Eccles championed trade union, child care and anti-racism issues

Baroness Lestor of Eccles, the former veteran Labour MP and campaigner, has died in a London hospice.


Labour MP Clive Soley remembers a 'wonderful woman' (3'01')
She was warmly remembered by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who called her a devoted servant of her country and a politician who fought tirelessly for justice at home and abroad.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada, she had a long and distinguished career during which she also adopted a number of children as a single mother.

Joan Lestor's long political career started when she joined the Labour Party 40 years ago.

She went on to become a councillor and was elected MP for Eton and Slough in 1966, serving in Harold Wilson's and James Callaghan's governments.

In 1976, however, she resigned from the Labour Government in opposition to budget cuts.

She lost her seat in 1983, but returned as MP for Eccles in 1987 and was created a Life Peer last year.

'Deeply saddened'

The Prime Minister paid his tribute as soon as he heard the news.

Mr Blair said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of Joan's death. She was a devoted servant of her former constituents, of her party and of her country.

"She was a politician of deep-seated convictions who fought tirelessly for justice at home and abroad.

"I will remember her for her work in the field of international development, her role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and her devotion to children.

"On a more personal level, I will remember her because she was present when I made my first ever public speech as a politician when I was a candidate in the Beaconsfield by-election.

"I will always remember her as a member of the shadow cabinet when I first became leader of the Labour Party, whose support was always steadfast and whose advice was always welcome."

Baroness Lestor listed her recreations in Who's Who as theatre, reading and playing with children and animals.

Labour are also mourning the loss of another of its former MPs, Joan Maynard. Miss Maynard had been suffering from a long illness, and she died at her home in Yorkshire, aged 76.
 





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