Tributes paid to former Labour MP Maria Fyfe after death

Ms Fyfe has been hailed as an 'inspiration to generations' by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Tributes paid to former Labour MP Maria Fyfe after death Twitter

Former Labour MP Maria Fyfe has been hailed as an “inspiration to generations” following her death, aged 82.

Ms Fyfe served as the MP for Glasgow Maryhill between 1987 and 2001, and during her time in Westminster fought for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

She died on Thursday after a short illness, the Scottish Labour Party confirmed.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard paid tribute to her, saying: “Maria Fyfe was honest, principled and a pioneer, someone who fought for what she believed in to the very end.

“She was an inspiration to generations of Labour Party members, encouraging young people to become active to change the world around them, and leading by example.

“Maria believed a society built on equality, peace and socialism was possible, and it is our duty to uphold her memory by carrying on her work.

“The thoughts of the whole Scottish Labour Party are with her sons Stephen and Chris, and the family.”

The First Minister said in a statement on Twitter that she had “looked up to” Ms Fyfe as she began her career in politics.

“Really sad to hear that Maria Fyfe has died. We may have been in different parties, but when I was a young woman starting out in politics, she was someone I looked up to,” she said.

“Without women like her leading the way then, politics would still be even harder for women today.”

Former Labour first minister Lord McConnell described Ms Fyfe as being an “incredible woman” who fought for the city of Glasgow and for devolution.

He added: “An inspiring figure for generations of women in @scottishlabour Maria will be missed but her life’s work brought change to Scotland.”

The Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn branch of the party tweeted it has “lost a giant of our movement”.

The group said: “Our comrade Maria Fyfe passed away this morning.

“Maria was MP for Maryhill from 1987-2001, played a crucial role in delivering devolution and remained an active CLP member all her life.”

Councillor Eva Murray, the depute leader of the Labour group on Glasgow City Council, said she was “very sad to hear that Maria Fyfe has passed away”.

Speaking about the former MP she said: “She was a trailblazer and a fighter who inspired all those who were lucky enough to know her.

“She may have been small in stature but today we have a lost a giant of our movement and city.”

‘She campaigned till the end’

By Bernard Ponsonby, STV special correspondent

Maria Fyfe was a lifelong activist for socialism who was never found wanting in the causes she cherished so much: equality, justice and world peace.

That activism was imbued by Labour values. They taught her what to believe and how to conduct herself. She campaigned for those values right to the very end of her life.

Whether it was a Jeremy Corbyn rally in Govan Old Parish Church or a talk by Len McCluskey to launch a book on Jimmy Reid, I would bump into Maria. She never passed you by without saying hello. 

I marvelled at how someone who was not in the full flush of youth nevertheless thought there was still work to be done, causes still to be fought. 

The mop of curly black hair from the time of her election to parliament in 1987 had given way latterly to a refined grey.

Her politics did not match her hair colour. She was red and proud and argued sincerely and directly but rarely if ever in anger.

As a socialist she would not want to be solely remembered for her contribution to better representation for women in parliament. It is inescapable to record though that as an MP she argued, argued and argued again in the cause of equality for women.

That she had to do so was in itself a scandal. The Labour movement may now champion what Maria Fyfe had to agitate for but back in the day the brothers were not all fraternal in the matter of advancing their sisters in arms.

Maria was a trailblazer, part of a lineage of determined women from Jennie Lee to Judith Hart to Peggy Herbison.

She was also a dedicated constituency MP for Glasgow Maryhill who was first to the barricades in defence of her constituents and her City.

She spent 14 years at Westminster but didn’t care for it much. The chumminess sat uneasily with her activism and the gentlemen’s club aura would give her the boak.

A bit like Tony Benn she left elected office to spend more time on politics. She was a women who was direct, sincere, unassuming, quietly passionate and utterly unbending in her belief in the brother and sisterhood of socialist values.

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