Catholic Labour MP Paul Goggins has died in hospital aged 60, just over a week after he collapsed while going for a run. Labour leader, Ed Miliband said the party had lost “one of its most dignified, humane, wise and loyal MPs”.
Mr Goggins, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, Greater Manchester, was a former Northern Ireland and Home Office minister and had been a Member of Parliament since 1997.
He was educated at St Bede’s College and Ushaw College and, before entering parliament, was director of the Church Action on Poverty campaign.
Mr Goggins had been out jogging with his son when he collapsed on on December 30. He was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage.
In a statement released this morning, his wife, Wynn, and three grown-up children, Matthew, Theresa and Dominic, said: “Last night Paul Goggins, our dear dad and husband, died in hospital in Salford with us by his side. We are completely heartbroken. He had been very ill since collapsing last week. The way in which he has been cared for at Salford Royal has been such a comfort to us and we can’t thank the staff enough for this.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes we have received from so many people – a real sign of love and a reflection of the sort of person Paul/Dad was.”
In a statement, Ed Miliband said: “The Labour Party has lost one of its most dignified, humane, wise and loyal MPs. People from all sides of the House of Commons had the greatest affection, admiration, and genuine respect for Paul. We are deeply saddened by his passing.
“Paul was a man of deep faith whose commitment and strong values shone through everything he did. As a social worker, councillor, MP and Minister, attending to the needs of the most disadvantaged was always at the core of his particularly thoughtful and dedicated service. He was held in great affection by the people of Northern Ireland for his real understanding of the challenges they faced in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I know Paul’s family have been profoundly moved by the outpouring of support, love and affection they have received since Paul fell ill last week. The Labour Party has lost one of its very best and one of its own. We mourn him deeply.”
Catholic crossbench peer, Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “Paul was a good friend and a good man. We first met in the 1980s while he was working for Church Action on Poverty. We made common cause after his election to the House of Commons in 1997 when we were among those who founded the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD, and, of which, we have both served as officers. Commitment to the world’s poor remained one of his major causes.
“Just before Parliament rose for the Christmas recess we spent a morning together at the Ministry of Justice urging Government Ministers to give greater support for victims of mesothelioma.
“In Northern Ireland, where he served as a Minister, he won great respect for his calm and thoughtful approach.
“Paul’s time and his voice were always at the disposal of people without easy access to the corridors of power. His political life was framed by his deep faith -and it will be that same faith which will see his wife and family through this heartbreaking time. On all sides of the political divide there is genuine sadness at the news of his untimely death.”
Archbishop Peter Smith, Vice-President, of the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales said: “Paul Goggins was a man of deep faith. His Catholic faith shaped and informed his passion and commitment to politics, and his lifelong vocation to social justice, combating poverty and exclusion. He was an outstanding servant of both Church and society, and his loss will be keenly felt. I will be praying for Paul and his family and I encourage others to do the same at this sad time.”
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury also paid tribute to the life of Paul Goggins. He said: “Paul’s public life and service was motivated so much by his faith and his contribution to local and national life will be greatly missed.
“We all pray that Paul may now rest in peace and we keep in our prayer his wife and family in their loss.”
Paul Valley, author of ‘Pope Francis-Untying the Knots’ said: “Sale is in shock at the death of Paul Goggins, our MP, champion and friend. He made politics a decent calling. Our world is a poorer place.”