Obituary: Alf Lomas, former political secretary of London Co-operative Society

Mr Lomas was also a long-serving Labour MEP

Alf Lomas – whose career included a two-decade stint as a Labour MEP and work as political secretary for the London Co-operative Society – has died aged 92.

After growing up in Stockport Mr Lomas worked as a solicitor’s clerk and railway signalman, and had a spell in the armed forces, before joining the Labour Party

In 1979 he was elected MEP for London North East, and from 1985 until 1987, he served as the leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party. As MEP, he also served as vice-chair of the Socialist Group and was a member of the Party of European Socialists. He was chair and member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of Central America and the Contadora Group.

He served the constituency until the 1999 reorganisation of European constituencies.

The London Co-operative Society, which he served as political secretary, had a history of radical campaigning, with support for CND, the anti-apartheid moevement, protests agains the Vietnam War and miner’s strikes.

His colleague Michael McGowan, former Labour MEP for Leeds, said: “I first met Alf Lomas when we were both worked full time for the co-operative  movement and he was political secretary of London Co-operative Society. 

“Born in Stockport in Cheshire, he went to the local St Paul’s elementary school, worked as a railway signalman, and after service in the RAF was a local councillor and Labour Party agent and visited Vietnam during the Vietnam War.   

“He was elected a Member of the European Parliament for London North East in 1979, was leader of the Labour Group of MEPs from 1985 to 1987, and  a member of the Socialist Campaign Group.    

“Always an internationalist he met Fidel Castro and campaigned for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. As a member of the EU’s Joint Assembly with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries he played a key role in opposition to apartheid in South Africa.” 

Mr McGowan added: “Alf enjoyed painting, playing chess, boxing, football, horse racing, classical music, jazz, and good food.”

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