Scotsman Obituaries: Ann Clwyd, Long-serving Welsh MP and leading Labour Party figure
Former Labour MP Ann Clwyd has died at the age of 86. She represented the Cynon Valley constituency in South Wales for 35 years, becoming the oldest woman to sit in the House of Commons before standing down in 2019.
Ms Clwyd was first elected MP for Cynon Valley in a by-election in 1984, having previously been the MEP for Mid and West Wales for five years in the European Parliament.
The former journalist held a series of frontbench posts in opposition, including shadow Welsh secretary and shadow international development secretary.
As a backbencher she campaigned to highlight the atrocities of Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi Kurds and was a strong supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Her family said she died peacefully at home in Cardiff.
Former Labour leader Sir Tony Blair said: “Ann was a courageous, fearless, principled political campaigner, whose politics remained steadfastly wedded to representation of the poor and oppressed wherever in the world she found them. She didn’t flinch from speaking her mind, no matter what the personal or political cost.
“She fought the case of those employed in the coal industry, persuading my government to correct the failure to compensate former miners for the ill health they suffered through mining. She was a stalwart campaigner for better healthcare, typically using her own experience to advocate on behalf of others.
“And having spent a large part of her life standing up against the brutal repression of the Kurdish people in Iraq, she supported the removal of Saddam Hussein, not only when it was relatively easy to do so, but when the going got tough. I admired her enormously.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Incredibly sad to hear that Ann Clwyd, former Labour MP for Cynon Valley, has passed away. A long standing Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Ann was a leading figure in the Labour Party, dedicating her life to our movement. My thoughts are with her family and friends.”
Beth Winter, who succeeded Ms Clwyd as MP for Cynon Valley, said: “My thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time. Her work over so many years for women’s rights, international justice and the miners will be remembered.”
Jo Stevens, Labour MP for Cardiff Central and shadow secretary of state for Wales, said: “Ann really was a trailblazer for women, not just in Wales but across the UK and abroad. Determined, passionate, fierce and stood her ground, showing huge strength of character. Ann was also very kind, funny and loyal to her many friends and constituents.”