Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Jim Dobbin MP, dies in the Saddle!

JIM Dobbin, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, died suddenly died in Slupsk whilst on a Parliamentary trip in Poland, aged 73.  Jim was first elected as MP for Heywood and Middleton in 1997 which includes Castleton and Bamford, having earlier contested and lost Bury North in the 1992 General Election.

He had been elected as a councillor in the Borough of Rochdale, becoming the Labour group leader in 1994, and then became the leader of the Rochdale Council in 1996.

Jim Dobbin was a member of the Transport Scrutiny Select Committee as well one of Britain’s representatives on the Council of Europe.  A Roman Catholic he chaired the all-party Pro-Life Group, and he was awarded and invested as a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great from Pope Benedict XVI.  He married Patricia Russell in 1964; the couple had two sons and two daughters.

In his last Parliamentary Letter, in last Saturday's Rochdale Observer, he wrote:
'MPs have been back almost a week now in Parliament and colleagues are wondering what on earth is happening in Rochdale at the moment. The way in which Rochdale has been focused upon recently has dragged the town into disrepute and created a skewed perception of Rochdale.  I hope that people, including politicians, are mindful of the need for balance as well as transparancy in their communications about the community of Rochdale.'

Earlier this year Jim gave helpful advice to Northern Voices, when people associated with our publication presented written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee regarding material contained in the recently published book Smile for the Camera.  Being a regular reader of NV he recognised the contribution made by the publication in the outing of Cyril Smith in November 2012. 

After we contacted him about the existence of a blacklist in the British building trade he told me that he had supported Early Day Motions against the practise, and on January 13th, 2013 he spoke out on his website:
'Blacklisting is a national scandal which resulted in workers being denied employment and prevented from putting food on the table merely for exercising their human right to belong to a trade union, standing up for their colleagues or for raising legitimate health and safety concerns.'

And he concluded by saying:
'Allegations that the original intelligence for the blacklist came from police officers are especially chilling and need to be fully investigated as a matter of urgency. Sadly, we cannot say with confidence that blacklisting is no longer happening which is why we are urging ministers to act.'

Other MPs, ought to take notice of these sentiments by Jim Dobbin, and not just MPs, but councillors too:  Jim Dobbin warned that 'It is greatly concerning that blacklisting checks took place on high profile projects funded by taxpayers...’ 

No comments: