Doug Naysmith obituary


The previous Labour and Co-operative MP Doug Naysmith, who has died aged 82, maintained a discreet profile at Westminster and will have been little identified exterior his constituency metropolis of Bristol, but he performed a vital position in one of the crucial far-reaching objects of laws enacted this century.

As a scientist with a doctorate in immunology, he was an influential member of the well being choose committee that persuaded the Blair authorities to not compromise, however to permit a free vote on the introduction of the proposed public ban on smoking. Naysmith, MP for Bristol North West from 1997 to 2010, regarded the following passage of the laws to introduce a complete ban, which got here into impact in 2007, because the spotlight of his profession.

He had entered parliament on the age of 56 on the tidal sweep of Tony Blair’s election, after pursuing a profitable educational life for 25 years on the College of Bristol. He had been born into the Labour and Co-operative motion, nonetheless, and had mixed his working life as an activist in native authorities. A genial, full-bearded Scot, Naysmith was common even together with his political opponents. He was a good, type man with a passionate curiosity in equality and a dedication to attempt to assist enhance the lives of others.

Born in Musselburgh, East Lothian, he was the son of James and his spouse, Ina (nee Vass). Each his dad and mom labored for the native Co-operative Society, his father as a cost hand and his mom within the {hardware} division. His father was a Labour councillor and paid his teenage son’s early membership subscriptions to the get together.

Doug went to Musselburgh Burgh main faculty after which George Heriot’s faculty, Edinburgh, earlier than finding out for a BSc in zoology on the College of Edinburgh. He adopted this together with his PhD after which spent a 12 months doing additional analysis at Yale within the US.

Returning to Scotland in 1970, he labored for 2 years as an immunologist for the medical large Beechams UK, however left once they closed down their TB analysis programme and made what was meant to be a short lived transfer to Bristol, taking a analysis publish within the College of Bristol’s medical faculty. He was made a fellow of the college in 1976, grew to become a lecturer in pathology in 1981 and moved to the registrar’s workplace for the final two years earlier than his election to Westminster.

He by no means returned to Scotland, however at all times maintained a detailed curiosity in his native nation and its politics. Like many Scots he didn’t purchase into Blair’s thought of “New” Labour. He was, he would say, “simply Labour” and, as a tutorial, he believed within the rigour of evidence-based politics. His philosophical mentors have been Bertrand Russell, Karl Popper and Charles Darwin.

He stood unsuccessfully for election for the Bristol seat within the first straight elected European parliament in 1979, however two years later was elected to Bristol metropolis council, the place he was a member till 1998. Throughout this time he chaired the Port of Bristol Authority (1986-91) and provoked some controversy by overseeing its sale into non-public possession, a course he pursued to maintain the port open and protect native employment.

At Westminster his essential considerations have been targeted on well being points, however he additionally pursued his pursuits in cooperative growth, in science, and in ports and transport. He made his maiden speech in defence of the introduction of the nationwide minimal wage. He was a member of the choose committee on regulatory reform, in addition to the well being choose committee and he additionally chaired the parliamentary and scientific committee.

As joint chair of Labour’s well being committee he was concerned in a parliamentary marketing campaign to attempt to deal with weight problems. He was a member of the Socialist Well being Affiliation for greater than 40 years and president twice, a fellow of each the Royal Faculty of Medication and the Society of Biology, and president of the Dementia Care Belief.

Within the 1987 basic election he had fought the protected Conservative seat of Cirencester and Tewkesbury and in 1992 was Labour’s candidate for the electoral bellwether constituency of Bristol North West, dropping to the victorious Conservative by 45 votes.

It was the primary of two close-run elections in his life: after resigning as an MP on the 2010 election on the grounds of his age, he stood as soon as extra as a candidate for Bristol metropolis council, and he and a sitting Tory councillor each secured an similar whole of votes. After three recounts confirming the useless warmth, each names have been put into the poll field for a fortunate dip draw and Naysmith received. He remained a councillor till 2014 and retired as an honorary alderman.

In 1966, he married Caroline Hill, a basic practitioner, from whom he subsequently separated. He’s survived by her and their two youngsters, Stephen and Catherine.


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