Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field dies aged 81

24 April 2024, 07:41 | Updated: 24 April 2024, 08:43

Frank Field
Frank Field. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Frank Field, the former Labour minister and crossbench peer, has died aged 81, his family have announced.

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Lord Field served as an MP for Birkenhead in the north-west of England for 40 years, from 1979-2019, and was a minister from 1997-1998.

He served as a Labour MP until 2018, before resigning the whip citing anti-Semitism in the party. He stood as an independent afterwards, before losing his seat in the 2019 election.

Lord Field was given a life peerage in 2020. He said in 2023 that he had been diagnosed with cancer ten years earlier. He announced that he was terminally ill in 2021.

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Frank Field
Frank Field. Picture: Alamy

A statement from his family read: "Frank Field (Rt Hon Lord Field of Birkenhead, CH) has died at the age of 81 following a period of illness.

"Frank was director of the Child Poverty Action Group between 1969 and 1979, and the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019.

"During that time, he served as a Minister for Welfare Reform and led the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances. He also chaired the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (and its predecessor Committee on Social Services and Social Security) as well as the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill.

Frank Field
Frank Field. Picture: Alamy

"In 2020, Frank entered the House of Lords as the Rt Hon the Lord Field of Birkenhead, was appointed Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2022 New Year Honours and continued to serve on the boards of Cool Earth, Feeding Britain and the Frank Field Education Trust.

"Frank is survived by two brothers.

"He will be mourned by admirers across politics but above all he will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to have enjoyed his laughter and friendship."

Dame Angela Eagle, a former Labour minister, paid tribute to Lord Field.

She said: "Very sad news. Always supportive of me as his Parliamentary neighbour, brimming with ideas to make society better - a great champion of his Birkenhead constituents: RIP Frank."