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Paul Goggins: Distinguished Labour MP 'champion of the disadvantaged and dispossessed'

Paul Goggins, who has died after a short illness, was a former Minister of State for Northern Ireland. He was 60. He died on Tuesday in hospital just over a week after he collapsed while jogging with his son.

He was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage.

His wife Wyn and adult children – Matthew, Theresa and Dominic – were at his bedside. In a statement they said they were "completely heartbroken".

Mr Goggins was born in Manchester and attended St Bede's College and later Urshaw College, a Catholic seminary. However, he trained to be a social worker.

He worked in Liverpool and Wigan and then in Salford, where he joined the charity, Action For Children. In 1989, he became national director of the campaign group Church Action On Poverty. He later decided to enter politics, becoming a member of Salford Council, before being elected as MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East in 1997.

He said: "I came into politics because I believe that everyone should have a fair chance in life, irrespective of their background, or wealth."

Mr Goggins had a distinguished career in politics. He was a member of the Commons social security select committee, and in 1998 he became PPS to the Minister of Social Security, John Denham.

After a short period in the Department of Health he was appointed PPS to David Blunkett, who was then the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In 2001 Mr Goggins moved with Blunkett to the Home Office, and two years later he became Minister for Prisons and Probation.

In 2005 he was a Home Office minister dealing with crime and the voluntary and community sector, as well as faith and race equality. In 2006 he joined the Northern Ireland Office, dealing with health, security and prisons, before becoming Minister of State the next year.

He was a committed Christian and well-known as a runner and fundraiser.

He co-founded the all-party parliamentary friends of CAFOD, the Catholic Aid agency, and he was also secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on poverty. He was highly regarded as a constituency MP and parliamentarian.

His Labour colleague and close friend Andy Burnham said: "The disadvantaged and dispossessed have lost a true champion in Paul Goggins."

Belfast Telegraph


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