Veteran Labour MP Sir Tony ‘Joe’ Lloyd Dies Aged 73 After Battle With Leukaemia

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Rochdale MP Sir Tony Lloyd died peacefully at home after leaving hospital last week to spend time with his family when doctors said his illness had become untreatable ‘battling with leukemia’.
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Veteran Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd has died after a battle with leukaemia, his family has confirmed.

The Rochdale MP died peacefully at home this morning after leaving hospital last week to spend his final days with his family. He announced that he had been receiving chemotherapy for blood cancer but the illness had “transformed into an aggressive and untreatable form of leukaemia”.

His family said in a statement: “We are absolutely devastated to announce the death of Sir Tony Lloyd MP, our beloved Joe’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandad’. He died peacefully this morning surrounded by his family, as was his wish.

“He was working until a few days before his death as his passion was helping others. He devoted his life to serving and making a difference to the lives of those he met including his constituents, colleagues, friends, and family.

“We would like to thank all the dedicated doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and other hospital staff who have provided him with care, as well as the blood and platelet donors who gave him an extra four years of life.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said his death was a “terrible loss” and said he would be remembered for his “deep commitment to Labour values and his decency”. Mr Starmer said: “We will always be grateful for his dedication to public life, his devotion to his country and his desire to make the world a better, fairer place. In the Labour Party, we will honour his legacy of service to others and his commitment to justice. May he rest in peace.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said she was “heartbroken” at the news. She tweeted: “Tony was not just a kind colleague, but a dedicated friend and rock of support to so many of us, thinking of his constituents right to the end. His loss is deeply felt by the whole Labour family. My love goes out to his family and to all those who knew him.”

Sir Tony Blair also paid tribute to “a lovely man, a valued colleague and a true public servant”. He added: “He is a great loss to the Labour family. My deepest condolences to Judith, their children and grandchildren.”

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said she would miss his “friendship and his advice”, while Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said she was “absolutely devastated by the news. She described him as an “incredibly kind, supportive and deeply principled colleague”. “He will be very badly missed. Love and condolences to his family and all those who loved him,” she said.

Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Very sad news. My thoughts are with Sir Tony’s family, friends and the people of Manchester to whom he was devoted throughout his life. May he rest in peace.”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle paid tribute to his friend of 30 years and said his death was a “tragedy” for Parliament, as well as those who loved him. Sir Lindsay said: “He was just a genuinely nice, all-round good guy, who even at the height of his cancer treatment, made sure the good people of Rochdale were well served. Tony was the best of us – and I will miss him.”

Sir Tony, who served as a Foreign Office minister during Tony Blair’s first term as Prime Minister, was first elected as MP for Stretford in 1983. After boundary changes, he won the Manchester Central seat in 1997 but stood down in 2012 to become Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner. He was beaten to the Labour nomination for Greater Manchester Mayor by Andy Burnham and afterwards returned to Parliament as MP for Rochdale in 2017.

He held a number of key frontbench roles during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, including Shadow Housing Minister and Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary. In 2020, he was admitted to intensive care after contracting Covid-19, standing down from the shadow cabinet to focus on his recovery. He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2021.

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