Ronnie Campbell obituary


The previous Labour MP Ronnie Campbell, who has died aged 80, was one of many final miners in Britain to be elected to the Home of Commons. He took his seat because the MP for Blyth Valley following the 1987 election, two years after the collapse of the miners’ strike and a 12 months after the closure of Bates colliery, in Blyth, the place Campbell had labored underground since 1958.

Earlier than his election to Westminster, the place he stayed in workplace till he stood down in 2019, Campbell had spent greater than 20 years as an elected officer of the Nationwide Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He was among the many unique flying pickets within the 1984-85 miners’ dispute and was arrested twice in the course of the bitter confrontations of the divisive strike.

He had additionally spent 18 years as a neighborhood councillor, and at Westminster he spoke with the genuine voice of his neighborhood, relating to his lifelong dedication to combating for employment and for the way forward for the Blyth Valley as a easy matter of obligation, whereas his uncompromising political profession was outlined by his perception in a consultant democracy.

A socialist and member of the leftwing Marketing campaign group of MPs, he fortunately espoused any trigger that may advance the pursuits of his constituency, thus successful a popularity as a rebellious member of the “awkward squad”. He was a preferred man, forgiven a lot for his gusty sense of humour, who was all the time guided by his ideas and his Roman Catholic religion; he repeatedly refused to assist any strikes to chill out abortion regulation.

He was as ready to vote, in 2017, in opposition to the celebration line on Brexit – as laid down by Jeremy Corbyn, whom he had nominated as chief – as he had constantly opposed the Iraq warfare below Tony Blair. At one level in his 32 years in Westminster he was named by the whips because the second most rebellious MP within the Commons, and he additionally topped a “plain-speaking” ballot by in 2015 because the MP who spoke with the best simplicity and ease of understanding.

A month after his first election he voted in opposition to a pay improve of 21.9% for MPs and introduced that he would take dwelling a miner’s weekly pay of £210 and donate the remaining to his constituency celebration.

The cash was used to finance an workplace to take care of what was on the time 5,000 annual queries. When he retired on the 2019 election, Campbell spoke of his satisfaction at the truth that he had secured an enterprise zone standing for the Blyth estuary, received funding for brand spanking new faculty buildings and for coping with the issues of drug abuse within the space, however mentioned: “The massive one was simply being there to assist folks.”

In 1998 he was ordered out of the Commons’ chamber for refusing to withdraw after calling a Conservative “a hypocrite”. When Margaret Thatcher died in 2013 and MPs have been recalled over Easter to pay tribute to the previous prime minister, he declined to attend on the grounds that it might be hypocritical of him to take action, given his unremitting criticism of her function within the closure of the coal business.

He was embarrassed, nevertheless, following the revelations of the MPs’ bills scandal that emerged in 2009, when he agreed to return £6,200 of £87,729 he had claimed for furnishing his second dwelling in London, saying that taxpayers’ cash shouldn’t have been used for furnishings. “We have been miles out of order,” he mentioned.

Born in Tynemouth, Northumberland, now Tyne and Put on, Ronnie was one in all eight kids of Edna (nee Howes) and Ronald Campbell, a joiner. In 2005 he was reunited with a half-sibling born to his mom, the jail reformist Eric McGraw, who had been adopted as an toddler. Ronnie attended a state major faculty and Blyth Ridley highschool, leaving aged 14 and signing on at Bates colliery after his fifteenth birthday.

He was elected to the NUM department committee in 1965 and joined the Labour celebration in 1967. Two years later he stood for election to Blyth borough council, of which he was a member for 5 years. From 1974 till 1988 he was a Blyth Valley councillor, chairing the environmental well being committee and vice-chair of the housing committee.

In 1986, when Bates pit closed down, Campbell signed on for the dole and deliberate to change into a care employee. The NUM agreed to sponsor him as a parliamentary candidate and he unsuccessfully sought choice for close by Berwick. In the meantime the previous Labour MP for Blyth Valley, John Ryman, had fallen out together with his constituency celebration, resigned from Labour and introduced he wouldn’t stand on the subsequent election. Campbell received the choice to interchange him by a single vote.

At Westminster he grew to become a member of the choose committee for the workplace of the ombudsman in 1987 and subsequently of the general public administration committee (1997-2001) and of the well being and social care committee (2005-2007). He introduced his retirement on the subsequent election in the summertime of 2019 and stood down in December when his seat fell to the Conservative candidate, Ian Levy.

In 1967 Campbell married Deirdre McHale, a county councillor. She survives him, as do their kids, Edward, Sharon, Barry, Shaun, Brendan and Aidan.


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