Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 17:44 UK

Tributes to Gwyneth Dunwoody

Gwyneth Dunwoody, chair of the transport select committee and Parliament's longest-serving female MP, has died age 77.

PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

"I think so many people will be so sad at the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody. She was almost 40 years a Member of Parliament. She was always her own person. She was always fiercely independent. She was politics at its best - a great parliamentarian, a great expert on transport. And I think she will be sadly missed in all parts of the House of Commons.

Gordon Brown tribute

And, for her constituents in Crewe, she was a dedicated, committed Member of Parliament, who would do everything for them. And I will personally miss Gwyneth for the independent views she brought to me - and for her expertise in so many different areas, as well as her sheer commitment to the Labour party and to the cause of social justice."

DAVID DUNWOODY, SON

"She was a woman who stood up and said what she believed was true and defended those who did not have many people to defend them. And she stood up for her principles, she was a wonderful woman."

BETTY BOOTHROYD, FRIEND

"Gwyneth and I have been friends and comrades in the Labour movement all our adult lives. She was the daughter of Labour's greatest general secretary Morgan Phillips and to me, Gwyneth represented the true heart of the Labour Party.

A person who was genuine, generous and caring for others. Part of that was her great wisdom and her integrity...She wouldn't stand any waffle, she was a debunker of humbug, I'm devastated with this news today... she was the dearest and wittiest of friends, she is irreplaceable."

RUTH KELLY, TRANSPORT SECRETARY

"I was shocked to hear the sad news of Gwyneth Dunwoody's death. Gwyneth was a formidable chairman of the Transport Select Committee, commanding the respect of all who appeared before her. She had a passion for the subject because she understood the importance of transport to people's everyday lives and she was, of course, a superb advocate for the protection and rights of employees. Gwyneth knew the subject inside out and was both rigorous and mischievous in her questioning. As Transport Secretary, I always enjoyed my encounters with Gwyneth, but I always made sure I was fully briefed. During Transport Questions in the Commons, Gwyneth would offer an amusing running commentary on how I and my opponents were doing to the rest of the chamber, which I know MPs on all sides will sorely miss. Gwyneth was an outstanding parliamentarian and a larger-than-life figure who tirelessly served the people of Crewe and Nantwich. She will be sadly missed by her Labour colleagues and is a great loss to Parliament."

TONY BENN, FORMER LABOUR MP

"She was an independent-minded woman who always spoke her mind and will be badly missed. She was a very remarkable woman and a very powerful Member of Parliament. She was very strong on certain questions. She took a very independent stance on the European Union and was respected by the House. She was listened to with great attention from the House itself."

HARRIET HARMAN, COMMONS LEADER

"She was a strong parliamentarian and a committed campaigner who was admired and feared in equal measure. I will sorely miss her. We shall not see her like again."

CAROLINE SPELMAN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY CHAIRMAN

"Gwyneth Dunwoody's passing is a moment of great sadness for parliamentary democracy. The longest-serving female MP's independence of mind was greatly respected across all parties in Parliament. To many, Gwyneth was a kindly matriarch in the House and her warm personality and powerful rhetoric will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this time."

FRANK FIELD, LABOUR MP

"The image and the work that she put forward was something which appealed very much to voters at the current time when MPs don't have a particularly high standing. And therefore while it's a huge loss to her family, it's a loss to the political community because she was one of the more acceptable faces of politicians."

LOUISE ELLMAN, LABOUR MP

"I am deeply saddened and shocked by Gwyneth's passing. We have all lost a courageous and fearless woman who spoke up for the ordinary person. She was a brilliant parliamentarian and a genuine friend. She was a campaigner who never stopped until she achieved a result."

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER NICK CLEGG

"Gwyneth Dunwoody was a fiercely principled and incredibly effective Parliamentarian. Her recent contributions in the area of transport were outstanding and her knowledge unquestioned. She was a great speaker and debater and the House of Commons will be a poorer place without her. She will be missed on all sides of the House."

CONSERVATIVE LEADER DAVID CAMERON

"I was incredibly sad to hear the news. She was an extraordinary MP, a real battler, someone who was never prepared to just take the establishment view. When I made my maiden speech in the House of Commons it was just after a speech by Gwyneth Dunwoody and she was very friendly to people on all sides of the House of Commons - Labour, Conservative and Liberal. She'll be really missed. She was a great campaigner for public transport and railways. And she was an extraordinary member of Parliament and I think everyone will have very strong memories of her and our thoughts are with her families and her constituents today."

GEORGE MUIR, ASSOCIATION OF TRAIN OPERATING COMPANIES

"Gwyneth was a passionate supporter of the railway in the UK over many years and never afraid to express strong views on its development. We will miss her energy, enthusiasm and good humour. The railway industry has lost a good friend."

MARK BROWNRIGG, UK CHAMBER OF SHIPPING

"Gwyneth Dunwoody was a very remarkable and powerful parliamentarian. Like no other, she kept transport issues to the fore with her unique blend of serious and acute investigation coupled with a teasing sense of humour, which left one alternately at ease and in a state of healthy discomfort. Her open approach and tenacity cajoled many governments into being more active on transport issues than they might otherwise have been. Of course she did not always share the shipping industry's perspectives on specific issues, but she was highly effective and cared with passion."


SEE ALSO
Veteran Labour MP Dunwoody dies
18 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Kindly rebel and Labour stalwart
18 Apr 08 |  UK Politics


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