Tributes have been paid to Sir Tony Lloyd MP, who died, after a short illness, on 17 January.
Born in Stretford, Sir Tony served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for 36 years, making him one of the longest-serving MPs in recent history. He was Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner between 2012 and 2017 and served as the first (albeit interim) Mayor of Greater Manchester in his last two years in the role.
Labour leader Keir Starmer called it a “terrible loss”, and expressed his condolences to Lloyd’s family.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “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.”
Tribute was also paid by the Co-op Party: “We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Tony Lloyd MP. The thoughts of our Party and our movement are with his family and loved ones,” it said, while Co-op Party chair Jim McMahon said his death was “a terrible loss of a true public servant.”
Described as “gently spoken”, “humble” and” well-liked on all sides”, Sir Tony was knighted in 2021 for public service – but throughout his career, was not against rebelling. He voted against government policy regarding the Iraq war and the policy to detain terror suspects for 90 days without trial. He also voted against introducing tuition fees for students and the renewal of the UK Trident programme as an anti-war campaigner.
Last year he campaigned against Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) plans to remove powers from its tenant representative body, and in 2020 stood with Unite in calling for the Co-op Group to reconsider the sale of its underwriting business to Markerstudy.
Sir Tony was the Labour MP for Rochdale from 2017, where he actively supported the work of the Co-operative Heritage Trust and its work at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.
“The Co-operative Heritage Trust is saddened to learn of the death of Tony Lloyd (MP for Rochdale),” the organisation said in a statement.
“On the 21st of December 2023, the anniversary of the Rochdale Pioneers store opening, Tony shared his thoughts on social media about the ways the movement had helped working-class people. He was a firm supporter of the work we do through the Rochdale Pioneers Museum locally and through the wider movement.
“We always found him approachable and compassionate, easy to talk to and committed to a peaceful resolution to conflict. Our best wishes go to his family and colleagues.”
Sir Tony’s family said in a statement that he “died peacefully” and had been working up until a few days before as “his passion was helping others”.
“He devoted his life to serving and making a difference to the lives of those he met,” they added.