17 January 2014


Respected campaigner: Paul Goggins MP

Respected campaigner: Paul Goggins MP

PAUL GOGGINS, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, who died on 7 January, aged 60, was a practising Roman Catholic, former director of Church Action on Poverty, and prominent Christian Socialist.

Kate Green MP writes: Paul was my parliamentary next-door neighbour, close colleague, and very dear friend, and I am deeply saddened by his death. As a new MP, first elected in 2010, I was immensely grateful for his support, advice, and friendship. We worked together on local issues affecting our constituents, but we also shared an interest in social justice, something that Paul was passionate about. In particular, it was a privilege to work with him on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty and the All-Party Group on Penal Affairs, of which we were both members.

Paul was a principled, diligent, and committed MP, whose work for his constituents, and for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community, earned him the respect of everyone he came into contact with. The issues that he chose to work on - children in care, penal policy, and poverty both abroad and at home - weren't always the most popular causes, but they spoke to Paul's values and his deeply held religious belief. And it wasn't just what he worked on, but the way he worked: collaborative, able to compromise where necessary, but always determined to fight for the outcome he believed to be right.

I watched him, soon after I was elected to Parliament, quietly campaigning for the rights of children in care. Politely, firmly, and persistently, he pressed ministers for action to protect their interest - and was listened to with respect. I learnt from that: when a cause is right to carry on fighting for it, but sometimes more can be achieved through courteous and reasoned argument than shouting and political division. I never told Paul how much he had impressed me with the way he approached that task. Now I so much wish that I had - and told him that I had resolved there and then, as a new MP, that I, too, would try to work in that way.

Most recently, until just before his death, Paul and I were working together on compensation for victims of the terrible mesothelioma cancer, a cause for which he had long fought. Paul was determined to secure a better deal for victims, and as the Mesothelioma Bill proceeded through Parliament, we were active together in proposing amendments to the scheme being introduced by the Government.

The Mesothelioma Bill completed its Parliamentary passage in the week Paul died, and I am sorry that he is not here to see it become law. We were still able, however, to debate some of the amendments that he had proposed - though I regret that we were not able to persuade the Government to agree further improvements to make the scheme more generous to victims. So - as we knew Paul would have done - we will carry on the fight for justice.

We will miss Paul very much: his passion for justice, the work he did to bring that about, and the presence, kindness, and friendship of a man who was good. My heart goes out to his family at this time of terrible sadness and loss. I hope that they may draw at least a small measure of comfort from all that he achieved, the respect that he commanded, and the deep affection in which he was so widely held.

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