Labour leader praises 'inspirational' former Waveney MP
- Credit: PA/Nick Butcher
Sir Keir Starmer has hailed former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard after his death last week.
The Labour party leader paid tribute to the 71-year-old, who remains the only non-Conservative candidate to hold the Waveney seat since its creation in 1983.
Mr Blizzard's victory was one of several gains for Tony Blair's government in their historic 1997 landslide win, and he held onto the seat until losing by just 769 votes to Peter Aldous in 2010.
Sir Keir said: "It is incredibly sad to learn of Bob Blizzard's death.
"His committed service to the people of Waveney made him an inspiration to so many people in the Labour party across Suffolk.
"He brought his joy for life to everything he did.
"My thoughts are with his family and friends."
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In parliament, Mr Blizzard was made assistant treasury whip in 2007, before being promoted to Lord Commissioner to the Treasury after a cabinet reshuffle the following year.
Prior to his time in Westminster, Mr Blizzard served as leader of Waveney District Council for six years, having been elected to the authority in 1987.
Former district councillor Brian Hunter said: "Having known Bob for all of the time during his public service as Waveney District Councillor and leader of the council, I was privileged to serve as his Labour election agent when he was elected Labour MP for Waveney.
"His stewardship in carrying out that position was acclaimed by everyone he came into contact with.
"He represented not only the Waveney district but so many individual people taking on their problems and anxieties as his own.
"A passionate supporter of the third river crossing, the successful outcome we have today was so much due to Bob’s perseverance and persistence to promote the case for its eventual acceptance.
"His declared mandate for the Waveney constituency was 'You know Bob and Bob knows Waveney' - an undertaking Bob fulfilled who ever he came into contact with or whatever he was called on to promote or to represent.
"Bob was so very proud to have the responsibility of a Member of Parliament just as I am sure were so many local people proud to have known him."