Tributes to the long-serving former Birkenhead MP and crossbench peer, Lord Frank Field have been paid by Merseyside representatives from across the political spectrum.

Lord Field represented Birkenhead for 40 years spanning from 1979 to 2019, first as a Labour MP and then as an independent from August 2018.

He served as director of the Child Poverty Action Group between 1969 and 1979, then as Minister for Welfare Reform from 1997 to 1998 under the first Blair government.

He entered the House of Lords in 2020.

Frank Field (Image Courtesy of Alamy under agreed license).

Lord Field was a leading campaigner for social justice causes throughout his career, including ending child poverty, pensions reform and stamping out modern slavery.

In 2021, Lord Field revealed that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in a speech read out in the House of Lords to support the legalisation of assisted dying.

He died, aged 81, on Tuesday night (23 April) at a London care home following a long period of ill health.

Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, posted to X, formerly Twitter: “Sorry to hear of Frank’s passing. He served the people of Birkenhead with distinction for four decades and was a passionate campaigner for social justice, especially in tackling poverty”.

Mayor of the Wirral, Councillor Jerry Williams, said: “On behalf of Wirral Council, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Baron Field of Birkenhead on his passing.

“Frank served the people of Birkenhead as their MP with distinction for 40 years, as well as holding a number of important roles within Parliament, Government and in opposition.

“Though born in London, he took Birkenhead into his heart after his election in 1979. He championed many important campaigns – not just within his constituency but also across the rest of Wirral, Merseyside and nationally – on a range of issues.

“Even before he became an MP, Frank was passionate about tackling issues faced by the most disadvantaged people in society and was Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in the 10 years preceding his election as MP.

“In 2013 he established an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, which published a major report on the growth in the numbers of people relying on food banks. This in turn led to him setting up ‘Feeding Britain’ as a charitable organisation to help put the group’s proposals into action to reduce and prevent hunger.

“Wirral has lost a friend and loyal advocate in Frank Field. His impact in Birkenhead and beyond will be felt for many years to come.”

Frank Field on a Liverpool backdrop – Alamy Images under licence

Wirral Council leader, Councillor Paul Stuart, said: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Baron Frank Field of Birkenhead.

“Frank’s four-decade dedication to serving the people of Birkenhead as their MP and championing welfare issues has left an enduring legacy.

“His unwavering commitment to social justice and his collaborative approach in politics have made a lasting impact across political divides.

“On behalf of the people of Wirral, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Frank’s loved ones as they grieve this great loss.

“Frank Field’s contributions to Birkenhead and Wirral and his advocacy for those facing injustice will always be remembered and cherished. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”

Dame Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, wrote: “Very sad news. Always supportive of me as his Parliamentary neighbour, brimming with ideas to make society better – a great champion of his Birkenhead constituents: RIP Frank.”

Mike Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead, said: “Frank Field, has sadly passed away today. Frank gave 40 years of selfless service to Birkenhead as its MP. His campaigns against poverty and his support for the people of our town are a priceless legacy. My sincere condolences go to Frank’s friends, family and colleagues.”

Labour MP for Wirral South, Alison McGovern, said: “Very sad news. Frank served the people of Birkenhead for 40 years. Everyone in the Wirral will be thinking of his life and contribution. He was indeed unique and a very special person to work with. His work will have an impact for many years to come. Thinking of his loved ones.”

Councillor Jeff Green, Leader of the Wirral Conservatives, said: “Frank Field was one of this country’s most successful politicians and one of Wirral’s most respected, by all sides of politics”.

“His success measured not only in his votes, which, at most elections would have been quicker to weigh than count, but in the difference he made to the lives of people who had been left behind and forgotten by the system. People who found their voice through Frank.

“Wirral has lost a dedicated and committed champion but the causes and organisations to which he dedicated his life will live on, providing a lasting legacy to a remarkable man.”

Frank Field, Labour Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, photographed at the desk in his office when he was the director of the Child Poverty Action Group of Macklin Street, London – Alamy images under license.

Birkenhead Green Councillor, Pat Cleary, said: “I’m very sorry to hear this news. Frank’s commitment to the people of Birkenhead was clear for all to see. He worked tirelessly for their benefit and leaves a significant legacy.”

Wirral Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Phil Gilchrist said: “He truly and faithfully devoted his life to public service, constantly working and fighting to improve the lives of people in genuine need.”

Birkenhead’s Hive Youthzone CEO, Jayne Wilson said: “Frank was instrumental in how The Hive Youth Zone came to be – a key supporter from the minute the idea for a Wirral youth zone was first put forward, helping to find a site for this incredible building and speaking up for the need for even more top-quality youth work for both Birkenhead and wider Wirral.

“And as a champion for those experiencing severe poverty both here in Birkenhead and far beyond, Frank was a longstanding voice on the issues facing so many of the young people we serve. Some of his experiences with us – such as packing food and toiletry hampers in our sports hall at Christmas time some years ago – fed into his work to bring the impact of the rising cost of living and policy decisions affecting families to national attention.

“As part of the youth work ecosystem on the Wirral, we’re proud to have been among the organisations deploying monies from Frank’s Feeding Birkenhead programme to support young people with food and activities when school’s out, which was the bedrock of the national holiday activity and food programme which continues to thrive today.”

Tranmere Rovers chairman, Mark Palios, said: “Frank was fiercely independent and fought Birkenhead’s case for 40 years.

“He was a great supporter of the club and recognised its importance to the community, describing it as ‘one of the heartbeats of the Wirral.

“The Club would like to extend their condolences to Frank Field’s family and friends at this sad time.”

More on this story on our page.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.