Tributes to Walter Harrison & Geoff Lofthouse

Wakefield has lost two of its own in recent weeks.

Former Labour MP for Wakefield, Walter Harrison died at the end of October aged 91. He was the Member of Parliament for Wakefield for 23 years between 1964 and 1987. Then, just a couple of weeks later, former MP for Pontefract and Castleford, Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract also passed away aged 86.

Geoff was Yvette’s predecessor and I knew him for many years. His work securing compensation for miners who’d suffered respiratory and industrial injuries through the Miners Compensation Claims Scheme made a huge difference to thousands of former miners and their families. I also worked closely with him on health matters when I was first elected back in 2005.

Over the years I also spent many hours talking to Walter about his days as Deputy Chief Whip trying to make sure the minority Labour Government from 1974 to 79 didn’t lose a vote in the House of Commons.

During their time as MPs, they experienced some of the biggest changes and toughest time the local economy ever knew. From the uncertainty and insecurities in the 1960s and 70s, to the Miners’ Strike and soaring unemployment of the 1980s.

Their years of service and dedication to this area and the Labour movement mean they will be remembered as honourable public servants who worked tirelessly on behalf of local people. We owe them both a debt of gratitude for the work they did.

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Posted November 12th, 2012 by Ed