Belfast Telegraph

Former shadow NI secretary Kevin McNamara dies aged 82

By Dave Higgens

Ex-Labour MP Kevin McNamara, who sat in parliament for almost 40 years and was shadow Northern Ireland secretary, has died at the age of 82.

Mr McNamara, who represented Hull North from 1966 to 2005, died at his home in Formby, Merseyside, after he was suddenly taken ill while on holiday in Spain.

His family said he became unwell while staying in the town of Carboneras and was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer, despite having no previous symptoms and being pain-free.

They said he was evacuated from Spain by air ambulance on July 28 and spent two nights in Southport and Formby District General Hospital before returning to his home.

In a statement his family said: "He died peacefully at home surrounded by his family following a short and unexpected illness."

It said: "Kevin's family wishes to thank all those in Carboneras and Almeria, including medical staff, cleaners and caterers, and the local Catholic clergy, for their professionalism, care and consideration.

"The family would also like to recognise the smooth administrative process in Spain, delivered through the EHIC system.

"Thanks are also due to the Free Spirit insurance company for facilitating Kevin's desired return from Spain, and to all the NHS medical and other staff, including district nurses and the palliative care team in Southport and Formby."

Mr McNamara was born in Liverpool in 1934, was educated at St Mary's College, Crosby, and University College Hull where he obtained a law degree and met his future wife Nora. They married in 1960.

He became head of history at St Mary's Grammar School, Hull, and then a law lecturer before unsuccessfully contesting Bridlington for the Labour Party in 1964. He entered the Commons when he won Hull North in 1966.

During his long parliamentary career he took on a range of different jobs including chairing select committees and taking on opposition portfolios before becoming shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland between 1987 and 1995.

He was shadow minister for the Civil Service between 1995 and 1996 but did not hold a government post in either of Tony Blair's first two Labour governments between 1997 and 2005, when he retired.

Mr McNamara is survived by his widow, three sons and a daughter.

Another of his sons died before him.

The current Labour MP for Hull East Karl Turner said on Twitter: "Sorry to hear that former MP for Hull North Kevin McNamara passed away earlier today. He was widely respected and will be missed greatly."

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