Veteran Labour MP for Rochdale Sir Tony Lloyd dies after announcing terminal cancer diagnosis

"A dark day": Political correspondent Andrew Misra has the latest from Westminster.

A minute's silence has been observed by MPs to remember veteran Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd.

The Rochdale MP Sir Tony Lloyd died “surrounded by his family” only days after announcing that he was suffering from an incurable form of leukaemia.

The Rochdale MP, who has represented the constituency since 2017 and who was first elected an MP in 1983, had been receiving chemotherapy for a form of blood cancer.

His family say he died "peacefully" at home surrounded by his loved ones on Wednesday, 17 January.

In their statement his family said: “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.”

Sir Tony, who had been the Member of Parliament for Rochdale since 2017, announced on Thursday, 11 January, that he had been diagnosed with an “untreatable” form of blood cancer.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute to Sir Tony's “desire to make the world a better, fairer place” following his death.

“The death of Sir Tony Lloyd today is a terrible loss. I know the entire Labour Party, and many beyond the Party, join me in sending our deepest condolences to Tony’s wife, Judith, his children, Siobhan, Angharad, Kieron and Ali, and his granddaughters, Carmen and Carys,” Sir Keir said.

“Like them, we will remember his deep commitment to Labour values and his decency. 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.” 

Sir Tony, who previously represented the constituencies of Manchester Central and Stretford, served as chair of the parliamentary Labour Party between 2006 and 2010.

A junior minister for part of Sir Tony Blair’s first term in office, he also held a number of key opposition roles during Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader including shadow housing minister and shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

In 2020, he was admitted to intensive care after contracting Covid-19.

Sir Tony announced he had untreatable form of blood cancer in early January, and said he would be 'spending the time he had left with his family'.

Sir Tony was Greater Manchester's interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner. Credit: PA Images

In a statement, he said: “I have been receiving treatment for some time for a form of blood cancer which has been controlled by chemotherapy.

“Unfortunately this has now transformed into an aggressive and untreatable form of leukaemia and I will be leaving hospital today to spend the time I have left with my family.

Tony is admired and respected throughout the Labour Party, and we are indebted to him for his lifetime of service. Our thoughts are with him and his family at this time

“I ask for privacy for both myself and my family at this time.”

Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, has described Sir Tony as a "great Manunican" who represented his constituency with "dedication and devotion."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replied to Sir Tony Lloyd’s family announcement on X about the Rochdale MP’s death, paying tribute to the veteran Labour politician.

The Conservative Party leader 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.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: "When he was a shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, he came out to Chorley to canvas for me – using his charm and great humour to persuade the voters that I should be their next MP. 

"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."

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “so sad” to hear about the death of “dear friend” Sir Tony Lloyd.

Mr Corbyn, the member of parliament for Islington North, posted to X: “I am so sad to learn of the death of Tony Lloyd.

“He was a good man & a dear friend. It was a pleasure to work with him.

“We were elected on the same day in 1983 and I was proud to appoint him to the shadow cabinet. A decent, kind & fair-minded comrade. I will miss him greatly.”

Paying tribute Nigel Evans, Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, said in the three decades they knew each other, they "never fell out."

Tory MP Nigel Evans said: "He was a rarity in politics. You hear the words trust, decency - you associate all those emotions with Tony Lloyd. He was genuinely liked by everybody.

"Different politics to me but we never, ever fell out in 30 years."

Meanwhile, MP Rachel Reeves says she is “deeply saddened” by the death of Sir Tony Lloyd.

The shadow chancellor of the exchequer posted on X: “I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Tony Lloyd’s death.

“He dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of the people he served.

“I will miss his friendship and his advice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Labour MP for Weaver Vale Mike Amesbury said: "Tony was one of the genuinely good guys who was a champion for so many.

"Honoured to have worked, campaigned, and exchanged our joys and woes about Manchester United over many years. Goodbye, my friend."

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