Funeral details announced for Sir Tony Lloyd
Date published: 07 February 2024
Sir Tony Lloyd
Family, constituents and political colleagues from across Parliament will bid a final farewell on 16 February to Sir Tony Lloyd MP, who died at the age of 73 last month.
The late Rochdale MP died on 17 January just days after revealing a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Mr Lloyd’s funeral will take place in Stretford at the St Hugh of Lincoln R.C. Church on Glastonbury Road (M32 9PD) at 12 noon.
No flowers are requested but donations may be sent in memory of Tony to Blood Cancer UK, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust or UNICEF UK.
Tony was born in Stretford in 1950 and was the fourth of five children. His father died when he was 13 years old and Tony’s politics were formed by his mother, who was a Labour activist.
“My mother had friends who died in the Spanish Civil War,” Tony recalled to reporter, Deborah Linton, in 2012. “I saw that as a simple battle of good versus evil and in that sense the basic morality of politics was instilled in me. I have always thought, if not fighting for what’s right and just, then what is politics for?”
It was this outlook that helped shape and define his entire political career.
Tony joined the Labour Party at the age of sixteen and after completing his education at the University of Nottingham, where he studied mathematics, he returned to Greater Manchester and later became a business studies lecturer at the University of Salford.
In 1979 he was elected councillor for the Clifton ward on Trafford Council and rose through the ranks to become deputy leader, before being elected as Stretford’s Member of Parliament in 1983.
Following boundary changes which abolished the Stretford constituency, in 1997 he won the seat of Manchester Central where he stayed until becoming Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.
During his first stint in Parliament, Tony’s capabilities were evident in the numerous frontbench appointments he held.
He joined the whips’ office (1986-87) and later became spokesperson on transport (1987-88), on employment (1988-92) and on education (1992-94). From 1994 he was on the environment team and then spent two years as the deputy spokesperson on foreign affairs.
In 1997 when Labour won a landslide victory, Tony Blair made him minister of state at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Africa, the Balkans and Latin America until he lost this post in a reshuffle in 1999.
Tony also became chair of the Parliamentary Labour party between 2006 and 2012.
Despite being known as a ‘centre-left loyalist’ he was prepared to take principled stands on many issues, including voting against the Iraq war, detention of suspected terrorists without trial, student tuition fees, and the renewal of the Trident nuclear missile.
Between 2002 and 2007, Tony led the British delegation to the Council of Europe (of which he was a vice-president) and also to the Western European Union.
From 2005 to 2012 he was the leading member of Britain’s representation on the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
When the role of Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was created in 2012, Tony stepped back from Parliament and contested for the role. He saw the potential to establish the process of people being involved and taking control of policing by building lines of accountability.
As the country’s first ever PCC, Tony supported work at the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre and bringing partner agencies together, pooling resources to deliver better, more efficient services.
This was particularly successful when police were called to attend to people with mental health problems as police were able to transfer responsibility quickly to mental health professionals.
When the PCC role was subsumed into the role of Mayor of Greater Manchester, it was a big task. Tony recognised it must be a success not just for the people of Greater Manchester, but for other regions who looked to create a similar role.
Tony was elected as the interim Mayor of Greater Manchester by the leaders of the ten local authorities that make up the conurbation of Greater Manchester. He was defeated by Andy Burnham for the Labour candidacy in the first mayoral election in 2017.
A voice for Rochdale
When the 2017 general election was called, the local Labour Party in Rochdale found itself without a candidate.
The incumbent MP at the time, Simon Danczuk, had been suspended following a party investigation into his personal conduct. Danczuk was found not to have broken the law and whilst he was not expelled from the party, he was barred from standing for Labour after which Tony became the party’s candidate.
Danczuk then resigned his Labour Party membership, taking a swipe at the then-leadership and claimed Labour didn’t “have the interests of Rochdale at heart.”
“Rochdale is a community that needs something different from this Tory government which has wreaked havoc on public services and mishandled the Brexit debate,” Tony said in 2017. “Labour is the only party that can speak for the people of Rochdale.”
The people of Rochdale agreed, and Tony was elected with 29,035 votes and a majority of 14,819 – the largest ever in Rochdale. Danczuk, who stood as an independent, lost his deposit.
“I will be a different kind of MP for the town,” Tony said in a press release upon his return to Parliament. “I will be a positive voice for Rochdale. It has decent and wonderful people, vibrant communities and a great future.”
In his role as PCC and interim Mayor, Tony had already served the people of Rochdale. He understood the town’s diverse communities and he brought with him an already established trust which allowed him to build on the relationships he had developed, bringing different communities and people together – and becoming part of those communities himself.
Tony was also generous with his time to the young people of Rochdale. He would always visit schools when invited and whenever pupils wrote in, Tony would always respond with encouragement.
In 2019, after watching a David Attenborough documentary with his gran on the amount of plastic in the Mariana Trench, a young boy from the Healey area of Rochdale felt compelled to write to Tony with his concerns.
In that same week, Tony also received an invitation from the Plastic Patrol to take part in their clean-up event on the banks of the Rochdale Canal. Tony got in touch with the child’s parents to ask if they wanted to come along as it would be a great opportunity to talk about his letter.
Following the event, Tony then invited his young constituent and his mum to his office to meet Arron Dixon, founder of the Rochdale-based family business the Paper Concept which supplies biodegradable items such as straws, party and eco-ware.
Sat around Tony’s desk, they discussed ways in which businesses can reduce their use of single-use plastics. When it came to issues on climate and the environment, Tony recognised that it is young people “whose futures are most on the line.”
Speaking in 2019, Tony said: “They are right to feel let down by the generations before them and it's inspiring to see children across the world make their voices heard.”
Following his election in 2017, Tony was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn as the shadow spokesperson on housing and in 2018 he took over as shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Liz Bates in The House, Tony said the role was “more satisfactory… as a shadow minister. Years back I was the shadow transport minister and frankly I don’t imagine that anyone remembers anything I said, including me.
“Whereas there is something more real about the Northern Ireland role because you can be an advocate.”
After the 2019 election, Tony added shadow Scottish secretary to his brief and when Keir Starmer became Labour’s leader, he was reappointed to Northern Ireland.
Tony stood down from the Shadow Cabinet in 2020 to recover from Covid-19 which saw him spend ten days in intensive care on a ventilator, but he continued to actively represent Rochdale in the Commons.
He was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2021, and in 2022 was re-selected to be Labour’s candidate for Rochdale in the next general election.
In an interview recorded by pupils of Falinge Park High School in Rochdale, Tony gave advice to aspiring politicians, regardless of their political colours: “For me, politics is all about people. It’s that sense of human solidarity that matters. If it’s not about making people’s lives better, then don’t be a politician.”
Do you have a story for us?
Let us know by emailing email@example.com
All contact will be treated in confidence.
Most Viewed News Stories
- 1Serious collision on Wildhouse Lane leaves driver in life-threatening condition
- 2David Tully’s reaction to being the runner up in the Rochdale by-election
- 3Autistic Middleton author's latest book explores how to survive puberty as a teenage girl with...
- 4Roadworks, temporary local road closures and restrictions
- 5Rochdale by-election: George Galloway wins seat and independent David Tully is second with over...