Posted: August 16th, 2012
ALF MORRIS, our first Parliamentary Patron, a great friend of the Mirror, and man to whom a debt is owed by every family in Britain and millions around the world, died on August 12, aged 84.
As a Labour and Co-operative Party backbench MP, he fought to improve State pensions and, defying the wishes of the then Labour Health Secretary, pushed through a Parliamentary Bill which gave help to millions of sick and disabled people, help which had until then been denied.
He built on these measures later as Britain’s, and the world’s, first Minister for the Disabled. His measures were copied by governments around the world.
Alf’s elevation to the House of Lords as The Lord Morris of Manchester gave him another platform from which to fight for decency, fairness and help for the cheated, neglected, war-wounded and others. His campaigns never stopped. But he found time to offer help and advice to AMP, and to me. He will be greatly missed.
“Disabled people have lost a real champion”
By Jason Beattie, Daily Mirror
LEGENDARY disability rights campaigner Lord Morris has died aged 84.
As Alf Morris, the former Labour MP transformed the lives of millions with his Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
The landmark legislation was the first in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities.
Alice Maynard, boss of disabled charity Scope, said the Act “changed the lives of so many disabled people”.
She added: “Alf’s fireside tales of his political manoeuvring to get the Act through are legendary among disabled activists.
“But it is for his support in all our fights for justice that I will remember him – the slow, painstaking, behind-the-scenes kind such as the battle for quality, accessible information, just as much as in the more exciting, frontline kind.”
Alf Morris became the UK’s first Minister for the Disabled in 1974 and was MP for Manchester Wythenshawe from 1964 until 1997, when he was made a life peer.
Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd said: “Alf was a great Mancunian. Brought up in a poor part of Manchester, he rose to the very top of the political ladder.
“I personally have lost a friend of over 30 years, disabled people all over Britain have lost a real champion and Manchester has lost a great son.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “I am deeply saddened. He always stood up for Labour’s values and devoted his career to improving the lives of the less fortunate in Britain’s society.”
He leaves a wife, Irene, two sons and two daughters.
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