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Parliament will be the poorer for losing her, something Westminster stuffed with lobby fodder can ill afford, for she was one of the few parliamentarians there.

What extremely sad news. Mrs Dunwoody was an excellent MP, and i say that as a conservative. I remember her laying into the minister in the House recently over the the new Cheshire Unitary councils, which she did with passion and flare.

I hope the upcoming campaign will be fought in a dignified way in her memory by all parties.

She was a truth-teller to power.

She'll be missed.

I hope CCHQ don't oust Timpson in favour of an Alister.

One of the few. Only Frank Field deserves greater respect in a house full to overflowing with nincompoops and thieves.If only the "conservatives" had such an honest pair.

"...a majority that would probably be too much of an ask at a General Election."

I would hope not... if we're to be forming a government with anything approching a comfortable majoirty, Labour seats with majorities of this sort will have to flip... not that it will be easy, it simply shows the scale of the task ahead.

I only hope that we've learnt the right lessons from Bromley and Ealing... its worth remembering that despite its short commings (some of which were pretty fundamental IMHO) our campaign in Ealing was a good one and we should be taking those advances forward.

I didn't agree with most of her political views, but she was fearless and outspoken.

Like Jon H, I particularly enjoyed her criticism of her own government over Cheshire unitaries.

May she rest in peace.

" I remember her laying into the minister in the House recently over the the new Cheshire Unitary councils"

By mistake I tuned in to the Parliament channel and caught her speech on the Lisbon treaty where she spoke passionately against the Government's guillotining of it. I am thankful I made that mistake, and now glad I took the trouble to write to her to thank her for her efforts.

What extremely sad news. She was a true "one off" Edward Timpson is a worthy Successor being another PPC with a "real job" ie making shoes. I have bought his shoes many times over the years. We are starting to get a parliament together of people from the real world, not party apparatchics and trade union officials. CCHQ should take note and leave him in place. I am sure he would inspire many activists to go to Crewe and help him, in fact why doesnt CH get this together when the by election is called. The Libdems must be prevented from sending busloads across without challenge, and the Zanulab candidate must not think they can ride it on the back of Mrs Dunwoody's truly iconic status.

Politics has lost one of its best advocates. A few months ago I sat in on a Westminster Hall debate when she was bashing the Government over their reluctance to grant foreign care workers basic employment rights. She showed a humanity and concern for the vulnerable which was touching and genuine. We need to see more people like her.

Whatever the difference in political perspective Gwyneth Dunwoody gave her life to serving her country and that of itself commands respect. Gwyneth belonged to a greater generation. One that knew genuine hardship and worked to try and end it.

This remarkable woman is barely cold, her family and friends in deep mourning, and you are straightaway talking of a by-election.

There was a time when respect demanded a certain decorum...

I understand that thoughts may quickly turn to the election that will follow - as Blair's did when John Smith died - but I think it's a little unseemly for any thinking on that subject to be done in public so soon after her death has been announced.

Rob, Cranmer:

You can be sure the LibDems are already moving up to Crewe with posters, computers etc

and to think... it's always the Tories attacking the Lib Dems for talking about by-elections before the MP is in the ground... show some respect and let her family mourn!

A wonderful woman and a hard act for anyone to follow.

Rob, Cranmer,

I'm reliably informed that when Paul Keetch collapsed on the plane to America last year the Lib Dems had their by-election recce team in his constituency the very next day. Those yellow scum are ruthless.

Gwyneth will be missed, when it came to bashing the Government she was second to none. She, like Robin Cook and Eric Forth were proper Parliamentarians...not many left now.

I wonder how the planning is going for the Henley By-election as well - we are well capable of losing that to the Liberal Democrats if we follow the usual plan. The biggest flaw in our approach is to assume it is hopeless to try canvassing a constituency and running GOTV properly during a parliamentary by election and concentrate on literature, and then we just get trivially out-campaigned by the Lib Dems who know how important it is to get every activist to come and help, and use them effectively when they get there.

His Grace has no problem with political scheming in the shadows and behind the scenes, but this forum is in the full light of the public gaze, and the speculation of 'a troublesome by-election for Labour' is therefore unseemly.

Respect, compassion and courtesy are called for. A dignified silence until Monday would have cost no-one nothing, and certainly not the Conservative Party any votes.

I true Parliamentarian and an honest lady we will miss her.

Daniel Kawczynski MP

Cranmer: I think conservativehome struck the balance right.

A generous tribute to Gwyneth Dunwoody and a statement of the political facts.

Noone on this thread has said anything mean. Proper respects are being paid.

A very sad loss. Took on the government and won thriugh sheer popularity and force of personality over her chairmanship of the Transport Committee.

Annabel (and I apologise your grace but I'm going to talk about the Conservative candidate) - Edward Timpson is of the Timpson family but he's actually a lawyer (I'm a lawyer myself but most of the people on this site seem to regard that as not a 'real job'). Still, he's a lawyer in Cheshire rather than in London.

Apologies for the typo in my post.

The reason why no one has been mean was because she was a true people's MP which nobody can deny. She gave a damn about the people she represented. There arent many of her like in Parliament at present and I for one will miss her honesty and integrity.

A terrible loss to Parliament.

A revealingly classless post.

I see where youre coming from Cranmer but you're being a bit OTT. There's a difference between stating the obvious political fact that everyone is thinking about what her sad death means and talking excitedly about the by-election campaign straightaway to the exclusion of any deference to her.
This gracious post is spot on.

David Lidington MP has just posted a handsome tribute to Gwyneth Dunwoody on CentreRight.com.

I have watched BBC Parliament quite a bit and Gwyneth Dunwoody was one of the very few who impressed me as an MP in the chamber as well as in the committee debates. She always seemed to have a mischievous almost school girlish glint in her eyes.

A senior Tory backbencher I had dinner with recently said that a Henley loss was highly possible.

The change to the title of this post is welcome - thanks Editor.

Wow, I can't believe this. It came totally out of the blue. It's a terrible loss to British politics; she was a person first, a politician second. That's why so many people respected her: she spoke her mind as she saw it; something so rare in politics today.

His Grace Cranmer's grammar is a little suspect for someone who claims to be an Archbishop "A dignified silence until Monday would have cost no-one nothing"

Of course those who knew Gwyneth will be in mourning but I don't see any lack of respect in political anoraks discussing the political implications.

This seat has never been Tory but it was mighty close in 83 and 87. If Labour can hold this by-election it could be a real turning point.

Incredible. Her constituency is next to the one I live in, and she is one of those people that you just assume is going to be around forever.

Doubtless, she is vastly superior to whatever mindless, careerist drone is going to replace her. Maybe they really don't have independent-minded MPs like that any more.


Like so many others, I was always impressed with her integrity and her fight. She will be missed.

The tributes to her on this site astonish me - after all, this is a Conservative blog. The fact that so many people feel moved to write about her is testament to her standing.

I can't see a similar reaction if, say, Ed Balls died. Politicians simply aren't made like her anymore.

Of course the by-election, when called, will be fought on the old boundaries - so the majority is 7078

The amendments made to the title of this post are most welcome, and testimony to the humility and graciousness of those who edit the site.

Bless you.

One of my favourite parliamentarians, I was truly shocked when I read about her death late last night. I am glad that respects have been so dignified from all sides of the political spectrum, she was a great person and she deserves it.

I imagine that with the recent problems of alterations in the Income Tax rates and with her probably having having added a few thousand votes at least to the Labour total due to her reputation, many Labour voters will see it as a better way of protesting than the General Election because a parliamentary by-election loss merely reduces what is a comfortable majority whereas in East Cheshire there is almost certainly going to be a strong Conservative victory in the elections for the new Unitary authority.

The Liberal Democrats in Crewe and Nantwich are liable to pickup Labour votes, if the Conservatives aren't in the running for taking this seat until the General Election, in a situation in which they were already a strong second then really it would question how well prepared the Conservative Party were to make much progress in a General Election, so far the Conservatives only Parliamentary by-election successes since 1983 have been to hold seats they already had, and even since 1997 they have struggled to do that.

Of course she was a very independent minded MP both in coming up with many valid criticisms of Tranport policy and in opposition to many dissident Labour MPs on the issue of the War in Iraq, favouring a principled stance for liberating Iraq to stop the massacres and devestation that the regime had been causing in and around Iraq.

She was in favour of the Iraq war to stop the massacres and devestation that regime had been causing in and around Iraq says Yet Another Anon
So Iraq as been a peaceful place since. NO Killings, no massacres, no terrorism!
What planet do you live on?

I was proud to serve on Transport Select with her and she was a great lady who will be missed Lee Scott MP

Gwyneth Dunwoody will be greatly missed.I am not a Labour supporter,but had huge admiration for this lady.She was an inspiration and was all that a good and caring politician should be.You never felt that she was in it for the money and the pension,-she loved the job and heer work was not finished.
She was one of the very few MPs of any Party who always did and said what she believed was RIGHT for the country and the people,not with one eye on her next promotion,or greasing up to the PM and Speaker (unlike some of the Uriah Heeps we have to endure)She had no time for creeps and sycophants.
I live in Cheshire and she vociferously opposed the splitting of the County which we have,sadly, had foisted on us, largely due to the unstinting efforts of a certain weaselly little woman Cabinet Minister not fit to clean Mrs Dunwoody's shoes,let alone fill them!(I won't name her,but just think of a small animated grinning dwarf with a low I.Q.and you'll get the message!)Mrs Dunwoody did far more to try to stop the split than any other local MPs,including,i am sorry to say,from the Conservative party.Anyway,the people of Cheshire will remember and salute Mrs Dunwoody for her honesty and courage,aa well as her key role in fighting to save our wonderful Shire county which she must have loved dearly. Rest in peace.You will be greatly missed.

The Labour Party has lost one of its best people. Gwyneth Dunwoody was honest, principled and independent - and friendly with MPs from all sides of the House.
Very sad news.

So Iraq as been a peaceful place since. NO Killings, no massacres, no terrorism!
Iraq has a government that represents a majority of the population now, the old Ba'athist regime represented a tiny minority of the population, they actively set about draining the marshes in the south, if the war had not taken place an ecosystem hundreds of thousands of years old would have been utterly destroyed, as it is it will never be what it had been before the draining. The regime chopped down all the trees in the south and carried out mass genocide against Kurds and Mash Arabs, invaded neighbouring countries, they would have continued to play games with weapons inspectors and when the international attention shifted away they would have gone back to a nuclear programme and maybe the first that would have been heard of it would have been an atomic bomb on Tel Aviv or on one of the Kurdish cities in the north.

Then there were the huge statues to Saddam Hussain, it has to be said pretty much idolatrous and using huge amounts of Iraq's weailth as were the massive palaces filled with gold that the regime built. Defence Spending under the old regime was 20% of GDP pa, since the war at a tenth of that rate, the former regime had been running the country into the ground.

The reason we invaded Iraq was oil not marshes. Yet Another Anon you had your way we would be invading a hell of a lot of the countries of the world.
We have an armed forces to defend this country not to fight others fights for them or to occupy other peoples country`s and that is just what we did with Iraq.
Iraq in many ways is far worse off now then it was before the war. There is more violence, more terrorism, the people are poorer and the infastracture of the country as been destroyed.
The Iraq war will go down in history as one of the biggest mistakes any government of this country as made in the post war years and its pointless to pretend otherwise!

This is very sad news - I could never picture this happening as it seemed she would just go on.
I respected Gwyneth Dunwoody - she will be very much missed.

She was a representative of a tendency in the Labour movement that is fading - though not yet gone - and an MP whose memory merits respect and clearly from the comments of MPs on both side, considerable affection. Putting words into the mouths of the dead is rarely a good idea but I suspect a great Parliamentarian like her would like to be remembered certainly - but for her potential successors to fight a tooth and nail by-election campaign thereafter.

But there is a wider point. As the leadership seeks to convince all voters that the party has a clear and convincing reasons to merit election, this admirable tendency in Labour should be prayed constantly in aid. Did the founders of the NHS wish to see swathes of patients suffering MRSA? Did the campaigners for universal suffrage look forward to the corruption of the postal voting system? Did Ernie Bevin (one of the best Foreign Secretaries ever) want to see the UK's foreign policy being composed in Brussels? Would the Tolpuddle Martyrs have relished compulsory ID cards? - and so on.

Kate Hoey - it's your party now. Come on the water's lovely.........

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