RIP Rachel Squire MP

Many people may think "what's this all about"?

Rachel Squire was, however, a champion of the Armed Forces in her very active role on the Commons Defence Committee. In particular, she took a close interest in the pension scheme and asked awkward questions that we could not, for example regarding the so-called sham "consultation". She may well have ended up its next chairman.

Her voting record showed that she wasn't lobby fodder either. Although many on this forum are not fond of the Labour Party, Rachel Squire was an outstanding constituency and backbench MP and this country desperately needs more like her.


Labour MP dies after long illness

Rachel Squire was elected as an MP in 1992
MP Rachel Squire, who battled cancer for more than a decade, has died at the age of 51.
The Labour member for Dunfermline and West Fife twice underwent surgery for brain tumours, then in June last year she suffered a stroke.

Her family said that Ms Squire died peacefully on Thursday night with her husband Allan at her bedside.

Chancellor Gordon Brown led the tributes to Ms Squire, who was first elected as an MP in 1992.

Mr Brown, who represents the neighbouring Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, said: "Rachel Squire was a wonderful MP and a caring friend and colleague: a great servant to the people she represented and a woman who showed quiet concern and compassion for others, even amidst her own suffering.

Secure funds

"Even when she knew she was dying, her first thoughts were for others in need."

During her career as an MP, Ms Squire campaigned to retain a naval presence at Rosyth and helped secure funds to save the Longannet coal mine.

However, it was finally forced to shut in 2002 after an underground flood.

Ms Squire became known as one of the most committed and successful constituency advocates in parliament.

She will be missed by all who relied on her advice, support and help, and she will be mourned throughout the whole of Fife and Scotland

Gordon Brown

Tributes paid to popular MP

She had a keen interest in defence matters, serving as a member of the Defence Select Committee and sitting at NATO's parliamentary assembly.

Mr Brown said: "Her service to Dunfermline over two decades and her dedication to our people, our dockyards, our mining communities, and our hospital was remarkable, and will never be forgotten.

"Our condolences go to her family, particularly her husband, who was a tower of strength to her and cared for her every day of her illness.

"She will be missed by all who relied on her advice, support and help, and she will be mourned throughout the whole of Fife and Scotland."

A spokeswoman for Ms Squire's family said: "Rachel died peacefully in her sleep last night at 11.15pm.

"She was in no discomfort and no pain. Her husband was at her side.

"The funeral will be private but there will be a memorial service held at a later date."

'At peace'

Ms Squire underwent surgery in 1993 for a brain tumour and defied the odds to recover, going on to become a patron of the Brain Tumour Action charity.

A second tumour was diagnosed in 2004 and a second operation was described as a success.

However, she was taken into Edinburgh's Western Infirmary last year after suffering a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain.

Her husband Allan said: "Rachel is at peace.

"She was a great fighter. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her."
Edited to include news link
Thats a shame, hopefully an example others will follow

That is a damn shame. She was certainly a friend of the Forces.

RIP Rachel
Like Kate Hoey she was one of those MPs that didn't really seem to fit in with NULab's style. It is a shame, Parliment needs more like her and fewer cyphers on both sides of the House.
My thoughts are with her family and friends.

The Government need more people like her.


Rachel Squire's obituary is in The Times today.

Rachel Squire

July 13, 1954 - January 5, 2006

Admired MP for Dunfermline West who defended Scottish regiments and industry with equal fervour

RACHEL SQUIRE was often accorded the adjective “feisty” for her defence of institutions that most of new Labour was resigned to dismantling, most of all Longannet — Scotland’s last deep coal mine — Rosyth Dockyard and the Scottish regiments. She entered Parliament in 1992 and, although pigeonholed with the Blair Babes upon Labour’s 1997 landslide, she was a committed trade unionist and much closer, ideologically, to Gordon Brown. Their ideas on a government’s duty to its people were, like their constituencies, contiguous.

Born in Surrey in 1954, Squire took a BA in anthropology at Durham University and then studied social work at Birmingham. She was a social worker and trade union officer before standing for election in Dunfermline West in 1992. She won it with 42 per cent of the vote, a share she took to 53 per cent in defending the seat in 1997.

Squire served as a parliamentary private secretary to the education secretaries Stephen Byers and then Estelle Morris, returning to the back benches in 2001.

A campaigning backbencher, Squire won compensation for the 333 miners at Longannet when the battle to keep the pit open was finally lost. She had previously secured £35m in EU aid to keep it running. She was a member of Unison and the Low Pay Unit, and was a staunch supporter of Dunfermline Homestart, which gives relief to single parents.

Squire became an acknowledged expert on defence matters and, as a member of the Defence Select Committee, she looked into abuse allegations concerning British soldiers in Iraq. She cautioned that British troops were too thinly spread around the world, and that the Government could not keep cutting back on defence while expanding its responsibilities. Squire’s support for the survival of the Black Watch was rooted in her belief that defence institutions are a part of their communities, tied to local welfare issues, and are not to be bought, sold, amalgamated or shut down for political expediency.

Squire led a petition in September 2004 against the formation by Geoff Hoon, then the Defence Secretary, of “super-regiments”, arguing that the Government was compromising the future of servicemen even while they were in peril. “That Government proposal . . .is seen by Service personnel, families and communities, as, bluntly, an act of disloyal backstabbing,” she said.

Last January Squire was shocked when it was announced that a subsidiary of Halliburton, the US consortium with close links to the White House, would oversee work on a new generation of aircraft carriers; the probability being that Rosyth would not be used. This brought back bleak memories: her constituency, she said, had lost 1,000 jobs when Malcolm Rifkind favoured Devonport over Rosyth for a massive submarine refit in 1993. “I will never forgive the Tories for giving Devonport rather than Rosyth the big submarine contract for political reasons,” she said. Three weeks ago there was celebration when John Reid, the Defence Secretary, announced that Govan and Rosyth would get a significant share of the work, with final assembly at Rosyth.

In June last year, Ark Royal returned to Rosyth to prepare for her latest refit, as part of a £360 million investment in the shipyard that Squire and Gordon Brown had championed. That same month Squire suffered a stroke while recovering from surgery on a brain tumour. She had already beaten the condition once: it was diagnosed as she was about to celebrate her first year in Westminster. She returned to harness quickly, although hundreds of constituents advised her to have time off. Some joked that the motto of the Ark Royal, “Zeal does not rest”, could be Squire’s, too.

She is survived by her husband, Allan.

Rachel Squire, MP for Dunfermline & West Fife, was born on July 13, 1954. She died on January 5, 2006, aged 51.

I remember her for her 'backstabbing' comments to TCH as well as her contribution to the Defence Select Committee. An MP who represented her constituency rather than just toeing the party line. She will be missed.
Knew her well in the early nineties when lobbying for an industry body. Very pleasant company and we had much in common, so conversations often ranged away from business to cover fife, durham University and similar topics. She sent me a note on HofC notepaper when I was mobilised in 1995, which I think is probably safe somewhere chez Cuddles.

God bless, RIP Rachel.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
mrboo Travel 25
slipperman The Intelligence Cell 77
ugly Weapons, Equipment & Rations 28

Similar threads

Latest Threads