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Tributes paid to Sir Gerald Kaufman MP and "journalists' friend"

27 February 2017

Tributes from the world of politics have followed the death of  Sir Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton and Father of the House of Commons,  at the age of 86.

But he was also remembered as a journalist and was a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

He was a political journalist and leader writer at the Daily Mirror from 1955 to 1964, worked for the New Statesman from 1964 to1965 and after moved to the Labour Party, as a press officer, becoming a close adviser of Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

His used his wit and knowledge of politics as a sketch writer for the satirical programme That Was the Week That Was, but later in life became a critic of the BBC.

Gerald Kaufman was a member of the Jewish Labour Movement and campaigned for the rights of Palestinians and against the policies of successive Israeli governments. He also had an interest in the arts and was the chair of the House of Commons select committee for culture, media and sport from 1992 to 2005.

He memorably described the Labour Party's 1983 election manifesto as the "the longest suicide note in history" and his book How to be a Minister has become a classic.

Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, said:

"Gerald Kaufman was a journalist's dream. The veteran Labour MP was a delight to ring, a former Mirrorman who spoke in snappy quotes when required. He didn't grumble if you called late at night or weekends. Back in the day he did the same job and Gerald was proud of his scribbling past and NUJ membership."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Gerald was very proud of his NUJ membership and would always do what he could to make himself accessible and useful to NUJ colleagues when he moved from the reporters' bench to parliament. As someone who maintained his interest in the media industry and journalistic issues as a parliamentarian, Gerald continued to support the union in pursuing our industrial and ethical policies as well as our work helping sister unions and journalists in peril internationally."

Helen Goodman MP, chair of the NUJ's cross-party Parliamentary Group, said:

"I was very sorry to hear today that my colleague, Sir Gerald Kaufmann, has died. Gerald was a man of many parts;  fearless, committed, cultivated, kind. Parliament will miss the sharp insights of this talented and dedicated man. He brought the insights and experience which he learned as a journalist into politics. He was on the political staff of the Daily Mirror and the New Statesman until 1965 when he was appointed Labour Party press liaison officer, and as a member of Harold Wilson's so-called Kitchen Cabinet was the Alistair Campbell of his day. We have lost a truly remarkable character today, and my condolences go out to his friends and family."

Tributes to Sir Gerald Kaufman

Tags: , gerald kaufman, obituary, daily mirror, new statesman, bbc, labour party britain