Gareth Thomas MP, Chair of the Co-operative Party, pays tribute to the late David Taylor

My Parliamentary colleague David Taylor died suddenly and tragically of a heart attack on Boxing Day, having served as the Labour and Co-operative MP for Leicestershire North West for 12 years.

In that time he developed a well deserved reputation as a spirited co-operator and a tireless and committed advocate for his constituents and the co-operative movement.

All of David’s colleagues in the Co-operative Parliamentary group are deeply saddened by his departure and the high level of esteem in which he was held by the Parliamentary Labour Party is an accurate reflection of his status and impact in the House of Commons.

It was no accident that David was voted Backbencher of the Year in 2007.

He never let up in his efforts to support an issue in which he believed and he was well known for both his rigorous and unceasing probing of Ministers and colleagues and his exemplary attendance record at the Parliament.

All of his fellow MPs marvelled at David’s ability to carry an enormous workload and his decision to stand down at the next General Election was a disappointment to so many of us who valued his insights and appreciated his readiness to provide advice and support when asked.

As an illustration of his high standing, a Facebook group set up in his honour immediately after his passing attracted more than 1,500 members. Their comments are a good guide to how people felt about him.

Numerous tales of generous gestures to constituents, personal favours to friends and colleagues, campaigns in which he played a key role, legislation he fought for, his enormous integrity, his commitment to his work as a local Member of Parliament, his attention to detail and his passionate adherence to co-operative values are recurrent themes of what he is remembered for.

One of his constituents summed him up very neatly:

A nice, hardworking man.
A real gentleman.
His death is a real loss.
Were it that all our MPs were like him.