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Belfast man Brian White who became a Labour MP and mayor of Milton Keynes


Published 15/07/2016

Principled: Brian White
Principled: Brian White

Belfast man Brian White, former Labour MP and mayor of Milton Keynes, has died aged 59 after losing a battle with cancer.

An old boy of Methodist College Belfast and a systems analyst by profession, Mr White entered Parliament in 1997 as MP for North-East Milton Keynes, but lost his seat at the 2005 general elections.

In 2013 he served as mayor of Milton Keynes.

His obituary in the Daily Telegraph revealed that he had once been detained - wrongly - as an IRA suspect.

At the age of 17, the future MP travelled from Belfast to Heathrow.

On being asked for his passport he declared that as he was travelling from another part of the UK he did not need one.

In the febrile atmosphere of the early 1970s that act of teenage defiance was suspicious enough to spook the jumpy Heathrow police.

He began his career in Customs & Excise, where he designed much of the VAT accounting system that is still in use by HMRC.

During his time in Parliament Mr White took a keen interest in energy policy, serving on both the National Energy Foundation and the Board of the Renewable Fuels Agency.

He was also a firm supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, defending the settlement against fierce unionist criticism at the time.

Paying tribute, Pete Marland, Milton Keynes Council leader, said: "It's devastating and obviously he was dedicated to Milton Keynes and to his politics.

"He is a huge loss to the Labour family, to the city, but most of all to his own family, because he was absolutely devoted to his family.

"He was a man of principle."

Brian White married Leena Lindholm in 1984.

She survives him, with his two stepsons.

Belfast Telegraph

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