Labour MP Jim Dobbin has died at the age of 73
Labour MP Jim Dobbin has died at the age of 73.Jimdobbin.org

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader pays tribute to MP Jim Dobbin, who has died at the age of 73, remembering him as a dedicated public servant.

"Jim's death is a sad day for parliament," said Miliband.

"He was a dedicated public servant, representing the people of Rochdale on the council and at Westminster for three decades.

"Working in the NHS for more than 30 years, Jim had a deep passion for helping others.

"A lifelong committed Catholic, Jim always took a lead in fostering links between the Church and the Labour Party, and his strong faith informed every aspect of his political and public life.

"This was recognised by Pope Benedict XVI when he made Jim a Papal knight.

"I will miss Jim's good friendship and decency. On behalf of the Labour Party, I offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Pat and, their children. We will all miss him."

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, who was part of the group visiting Poland, said Mr Dobbin's death was a "tragic loss".

He said: "Jim Dobbin was part of our Council of Europe delegation that was in Poland yesterday to award the Europe Prize to the Polish city of Slupsk.

"Jim was an excellent local MP, a strong believer in Europe, a proud Scot, and a passionate defender of the NHS.

"His passing is such a tragic loss and he will be sadly missed by the Labour movement. Jim was a great comrade.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Pat and their family."

Commons speaker John Bercow said: 'It was with great sadness that I heard of Jim Dobbin's death.

"He was a deeply principled and independent-minded parliamentarian; respected and well-liked by his colleagues, he will be greatly missed."

Dobbin's life

Dobbin was a member of parliament for Heywood and Middleton for 30 years. He had a majority of 6,000 at the 2010 election.

The politician, who was also a microbiologist died while on a Council of Europe trip in Poland. It's believed his wife was accompanying him.

In parliament, he chaired the Pro-Life Committee and was a member of the Involuntary Tranquillizer Addiction Group, as well as the Transport Scrutiny Select Committee.

He voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year, and spoke out against the plans in Parliament, saying: "I think MPs who voted for this change will rue the day they did so."

The son of a coal miner, he was born in Kincardine, in Fife. He went to Napier College, Edinburgh, where he studied bacteriology and virology, before working as a microbiologist for 33 years.

Former deputy Labour leader John Prescott said: "Jim was an excellent local MP, a strong believer in Europe, a proud Scot and a passionate defender of the NHS.

"His passing is such a tragic loss and he will be sadly missed by the Labour movement. Jim was a great comrade."

Ivan Lewis, Labour MP for Bury South, tweeted: "Jim Dobbin was a man of great integrity and decency. Sometimes didn't agree, but always respected his sincerity."

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell tweeted: "Really sorry to hear of the sudden death of Jim Dobbin MP. I only saw him on Friday voting against bedroom tax. He was a great MP."