Tributes paid to heroic disabled rights campaigner Lord Morris of Manchester who dies aged 84

By Dean Wilkins

Tributes are being paid to long-term Manchester MP and Labour peer Lord Morris after the disabled rights campaigner died on Sunday aged 84.

Alf Morris was MP for Wythenshawe for 33 years from 1964 to 1997 and became a spokesman for disabled issues in 1970 – pioneering the introduction of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

He became the first minister for the disabled in Harold Wilson’s second term in government from 1974 and was made a life peer in 1997 and was active until being taken ill and eventually passing away.

Baroness Royall, Labour leader in the Lords, said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lord Morris of Manchester. Alf died in hospital on Sunday afternoon after a short illness. He is survived by his wife, Irene, two sons and two daughters.

“With his Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 – the very first act to give rights to people with disabilities – he transformed the lives of millions and millions of people throughout the world.

“He championed the rights of disabled people, including injured service personnel, throughout his life and was deeply committed to public service.”

Eleven-time Paralympic gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson – who is also a member of the House of Lords – hailed the contributions from Lord Morris.

“Sad to hear of death of Lord Alf Morris. Fantastic campaigner for disabled people,” she said.

One former Manchester City Council employee described Lord Morris as a local-person’s man who stood up for what he believed in.

Astrid Marshall, a former constituent of Lord Morris’ and currently living in the Netherlands, told MM: “I used to work at the Town Hall in Manchester, many moons ago now, and remember having to check expense accounts for the local councillors and having to be quite strict about things – including that of Alf Morris.

“He was a good fighter for the locals, though and could be very tough. End of another era, perhaps.”

Former North West Tonight anchor Gordon Burns said: “Sorry to hear of death of Lord Alf Morris. In all my years covering politics for Granada TV & BBC he was one of most decent and caring politicians of all.”

Tony Lloyd, Labour MP for Manchester Central, said: “Alf Morris was a great Mancunian. Brought up in a poor part of Manchester, he rose to the very top of the political ladder.

“I personally have lost a friend of over 30 years’ standing, disabled people all over Britain have lost a real champion and Manchester has lost a great son.”

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