Union sorrow at death of MP Gwyneth Dunwoody

18 April 2008

ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman today expressed his ‘deep sorrow and regret’ at the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody. ‘She was a great friend of the union, a first-class representative for her constituents and someone with a genuine commitment to public transport.’

 

Gwyneth was the longest serving female MP in the House of Parliament. ‘She was a larger-than-life figure – a massive presence,’ Keith said. ‘If Gwyneth was in the room, you knew it!

 

‘We were proud to have Gwyneth as a member of ASLEF’s parliamentary group. She was a marvellous spokesperson not only for ASLEF, but for everyone in the rail industry. As the chair of the House of Commons Transport Committee she never shied away from holding the government to account if she thought they were wrong. She was ferociously independent.’

 

Keith says Gwyneth was ‘born in the Labour Party’. Her father Morgan Phillips was General Secretary of the Labour Party and her mother, Norah Phillips, was a life peer. Both her grandmothers were suffragettes.

 

In July 2001 the Chief Whip told her she was going to be replaced as chair of the Transport Committee because of her critical reports on the government’s performance. It took a rebellion in the Commons to ensure that she kept her position. The incident demonstrated how well respected she was by the whole House.

 

‘The House of Commons has lost one of its finest Parliamentarians and the rail unions one of our closest allies,’ Keith concludes. ‘She was always ready to fight ASLEF’s corner and to represent the voice of train drivers. We offer our sincere condolences to Gwyneth’s family. She will be sorely missed.’

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