A host of Labour grandees including Tony Blair and Hillary Benn attended the funeral of their party’s heavyweight former health secretary Frank Dobson today.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer were all at the service at St Pancras Church in London.
Also attending were ex-leader Ed Miliband, politician and actress Glenda Jackson, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and former shadow home secretary Ed Balls.
Former prime minister Tony Blair (left) and London Mayor Sadiq Khan (right) arrive for the funeral of Frank Dobson at St Pancras Church in London this afternoon
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Kier Starmer (left) and shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right) attend the funeral today
Glenda Jackson arrives (left) today, as does Stella Creasy with her daughter Hettie (right)
Ed Balls and his wife Yvette Cooper arrive with David Lammy (centre) for the funeral of Mr Dobson at St Pancras Church today
The widow of Frank Dobson, Janet (centre) and his daughter Sally (right) and other family members follow his coffin today
Frank Dobson became Tony Blair’s first health secretary after Labour’s landslide win in 1997
Ex-leader Lord Neil Kinnock and his wife Baroness Glenys Kinnock also attended, as well as Lord Robert Winston and MP Stella Creasy – with her daughter Hettie.
Mr Dobson, who was Mr Blair’s first health secretary after Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, resigned from the Commons four years ago, having been the MP for Holborn and St Pancras for 36 years. He died on November 11 aged 79.
The former leader of Camden Council was Labour’s candidate at the first London mayoral election in 2000 after being persuaded to go for the job by Mr Blair.
But he came third, losing to former Labour colleague Ken Livingstone, who stood as an independent, and Tory candidate Steve Norris.
Mr Blair praised Mr Dobson last month for his ‘immense contribution’ to the 1997 election win, describing him as a politician of the ‘highest calibre’.
Mr Khan said last month that Mr Dobson was a ‘hero of the London Labour movement’.
Conservative Cabinet minister Matt Hancock also said following the death: ‘From on health secretary to another, thank you for your… devotion to our health service.’
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry (left) and BBC TV presenter Andrew Marr (right)
Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell (left), shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey (right, in black) and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner (right, in green)
Hilary Benn and Lord Robert Winston (both left) and Ed Miliband (right) arrive for the funeral
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth arrives for the funeral of Mr Dobson at St Pancras Church in London today
The coffin holding the body of Mr Dobson is carried into St Pancras Church in London today
Yorkshire-born Mr Dobson, who was replaced as an MP by Sir Keir, died after a long illness.
A family spokesman thanked staff who looked after him at Homerton University Hospital in east London and York Hospital, adding: ‘He also greatly appreciated the support of his many friends and former parliamentary colleagues.’
Mr Dobson became an MP in 1979, the year Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.
He was said to have a robust and politically incorrect sense of humour.
Margaret Hodge (second left) and Harriet Harman (right) arrive for the funeral of Mr Dobson at St Pancras Church today
Lord Neil Kinnock and Baroness Glenys Kinnock (left) and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham (right) arrive for the service this afternoon
A message left on flowers at Mr Dobson’s funeral at St Pancras Church in London today
The widow of Frank Dobson, Janet (centre) and his daughter Sally (right) arrive with other family members for today’s service
Film director Mike Leigh, arrives for the funeral of Frank Dobson at St Pancras Church in London this afternoon
The order of service for the funeral of Mr Dobson at St Pancras Church in London this afternoon
Tory diarist Alan Clark said his anecdotes were ‘so filthy… they’re unusable, even at a rugger club dinner’.
Following his unsuccessful bid to become mayor of London, he returned to the backbenches and spoke out against a string of party policies including the Iraq War, student top-up fees, the marketisation of parts of the NHS and longer detention without charge for terror suspects.
Having decided to step down in 2015, the West Ham supporter said being an MP was hard work, but he added: ‘My constituents have been slow to chide and swift to bless.’
He left behind his widow Janet and their three children.