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Labour MP, Tony Benn
"An extremely serious loss"
 real 28k

Monday, 4 September, 2000, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Labour MP Audrey Wise dies

Mrs Wise's death leaves Preston without an MP
The Labour MP for Preston, Audrey Wise, has died aged 65, her family has said.

She was a champion of women and children's rights and was also prepared to rebel against the government on issues such as welfare.

She died peacefully at her son's home on Saturday night.

In a statement the family said: "Audrey had been diagnosed as having a brain tumour in April of this year. She fought her illness bravely and was optimistic that she would make a full recovery. However this was one fight she did not win."

The statement added: "Her funeral will be held in Preston and the details will be announced shortly."

Committed MP

Mrs Wise represented Coventry South West between 1974 and 1979, and had held Preston for 13 years.

Paying tribute, Labour MP Tony Benn praised Mrs Wise's commitment. She was, he told BBC News 24, "an independent person with very deep commitments.

"If half the Labour MPs were of the kind that Audrey Wise was parliament would be transformed because she wasn't frightened by anybody.

"She had her own knowledge, her own commitment and her own capacity to express it with great passion and feeling."

'Champion of the underdog'

Mrs Wise was a long-standing member of the Commons health select committee.

Its chairman, fellow Labour MP David Hinchcliffe, said: "Audrey Wise was the energy behind much of the health committee's work over very many years and has been the often unrecognised driving force at the heart of changes in policy by successive governments, especially in relation to provision for women and children.

"She was a first class orator and champion of the underdog whose contribution will be sadly missed in parliament and the Labour and trades union movement."

As well as rebelling on welfare Mrs Wise called on Labour's candidate for London mayor, Frank Dobson, to stand down after Ken Livingstone failed to take the party nomination after the result of a controversial electoral college system.

Mrs Wise held Preston with a majority of 18,680 and had also become president of the shop workers' union Usdaw in 1991.

She leaves a husband John, and a son and a daughter. She also had four grandchildren.

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