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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Former Barrow MP Albert Booth dies at 81 - tributes

LABOUR Party members have paid tribute to former Barrow MP Albert Booth who has died at the age of 81.

Mr Booth served the constituency for 17 years from 1966 and was appointed Secretary of State for Employment in the 1970s. But in 1983 Mr Booth saw his 7,000 majority vanish as Conservative Cecil Franks ended Labour’s 40-year stranglehold on the seat, which had just undergone boundary changes.

The contentious election centred on the Trident submarine jobs issue, with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher intending that Barrow would build the next generation of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

Labour leader Michael Foot wanted to scrap Trident and wrote a personal letter to shipyard unions claiming it would not mean a jobs disaster for Furness.

Mr Booth was likewise a long-standing supporter of unilateral nuclear disarmament and this proved costly with the electorate in the climate of that time.

An Old Labour figure of stature and a man of steadfast beliefs, he was also a Methodist lay preacher.

In 1992 Mr Booth made a return visit to Barrow to celebrate the centenary of the local Labour Party.

John Hutton, Barrow and Furness MP since 1992, told the Evening Mail that Mr Booth was a very well respected figure. He said: “Albert was recognised as a very hard working and principled Member of Parliament by all who knew him across the political spectrum.

“He was rightly respected for the hard work he did on behalf of his constituents and in his roles in government. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time for them.”

John Woodcock, Labour’s candidate for Barrow and Furness for the next general election, said many locals had shared fond memories of the former MP with him. He added: “Mr Booth was clearly a very committed and dedicated person who inspired considerable affection and trust from those he encountered.”

Terry McSorley, press officer for the Barrow and Furness Labour Party, also paid tribute. He said: “There are many people in the area, both Labour party members and others, who will be greatly saddened to hear of Albert’s death.

“He was a very caring and considerate man and an excellent champion and ambassador for the area.

“Albert’s work in introducing legislation that improved matters for people in the workplace was a significant stride forward and his personal attributes meant he was respected and liked by those who were fortunate to meet with him and work with him.

“Anyone who knew Albert Booth would describe him not only as a good MP but as a good man. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family.”

Councillor Mary Irwin, a Labour member of Barrow Borough Council and who campaigned for Mr Booth, said he was a wonderful person. She added: “He was absolutely lovely, friendly, reliable and honest. Albert was a family man, I remember his wife Joan and their two lads always went with him on sponsored walks.”

Have your say

Albert will fix it !!
...and so he did.....back in the late seventies and early eighties I worked there in Barrow docks for Weldit Engineering. Our boss, Bill Tams, was a law 'unto himself', who hired and fired workers as he liked. We were disorganised without Union representation or anything similar. But our luck changed for the better the day Mr Albert Booth visited Barrow....we literally just walked up to him and said what problem was. Quite informally he said,...leave it to me lads, I'll sort it out... and that exactly what he did. Mr Booth had a word with our boss, Big Bill Tamsie, and hey preto, we were allowed to get organised and join the Union.

It was sad then to hear of Mr Booth's passing, he did his bit for many of us and for that Albert, we are eternally grateful to you.

Posted by M Vatu on 9 February 2010 at 19:20

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