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Tributes paid to Lord Morris who has died at 84

Lord Morris. Photo: PA

Labour peer Lord Morris of Manchester, a pioneer of disabled rights legislation, has died aged 84.

Disability campaigners have paid tribute to his tireless work for the disabled. Tim Ewart reports.

He started life as Alf Morris and was MP for Manchester Wythenshawe from 1964 to 1997, becoming a frontbench spokesman on disabilty matters in 1970.

When Lord Morris first campaigned for the disabled, and those with learning difficulties, he faced apathy and ignorance.

But he had the support of Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. He lost the election in 1970, but Alf Morris's historic Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act still passed into law that year.

It changed the lives and opportunities of thousands of people.

He was the first minister for the disabled in Harold Wilson's second government from 1974 onwards and was made into a life peer in 1997.

He remained a tireless champion of the disabled, in power and in opposition in the Commons and the Lords, where the mobile bench of peers, the space for wheelchairs, remains as a tribute to his work.

One of Lord Morris's longest campaigns was on behalf of haemophiliacs who developed HIV and Hepatitis C through contaminated blood products.

Five years ago he was there as an official inquiry finally got underway.

If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years.

– Lord Morris famously said of the disabled

Lord Morris was a politically active backbencher right up until his death.