Death of John Smith: 25th Anniversary

Part of Acquired Brain Injury – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South 4:57 pm, 9th May 2019

This has been a worthwhile debate to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of John Smith, and I am grateful to all Members from across the Chamber who have contributed some of their stories, which have been moving and appropriate for this commemorative anniversary, and I have enjoyed hearing them. I may have been listening to them for the second or third time in the past few weeks, but I have certainly enjoyed hearing them in public. I pay tribute to everyone who knew John and to the staff team who worked with him. Sometimes when I sit in this place, I get a bit envious because I have not experienced some of the history of this Chamber. Indeed, I felt a bit envious this afternoon, listening to the stories of people who worked with John and who saw him in the flesh at the Dispatch Box, doing what he did best. I think the greatest tribute is to try to emulate our political heroes, and we should certainly all try to do that in this case.

I wrote down some words as Members were making their contributions: outstanding, civilized, missed, a great, inclusive, dignified, a listener, formidable, humility, tolerance, gifted, social justice, forgiving, humane, community, responsibility, fun, the common touch, moral commitment, caring, traditional, idealistic, friend. Those words just sum up what John Smith’s life, including his political life, was about. I am glad that we have been able to commemorate this anniversary in the House. As I have said, all our thoughts over this weekend—especially on the 25th anniversary on Sunday 12 May—will be with Sarah, Jane, Catherine, Elizabeth and the wider family.