Ex-Labour MP and minister Frank Dobson dies aged 79

Frank Dobson, the former Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras and Health Secretary, has died aged 79.

In a statement, the Labour veteran’s family said: “The Dobson family is sad to announce the death of Frank Dobson, former MP for Holborn and St Pancras and Secretary of State for Health.

“His family would like to thank all the staff at the Homerton University Hospital for their outstanding expertise, commitment and care in the last few months and also the staff of York Hospital for his previous excellent care.

“He also greatly appreciated the support of his many friends and former parliamentary colleagues.”

The north London MP was elected to the House of Commons in 1979 and served as Health Secretary under Tony Blair’s New Labour government from 1997 to 1999.

During his time in cabinet, Dobson tried to limit private sector involvement in the NHS. In 2014, he told The Guardian that his successor Alan Milburn was “carried away with the idea that the private sector could make a big contribution”.

On Labour’s handling of health policy, he added: “Some of the contracts were a disgrace. They guaranteed these private hospitals a flow of patients, which they never did to a NHS hospital.”

Dobson was known for his sharp sense of humour. He retired from the House of Commons in 2015, when he was replaced as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras by Sir Keir Starmer.

The Brexit spokesperson and Labour candidate for the north London seat commented: “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the death of Frank Dobson.

“He dedicated his life to serve the people of Camden and a Labour Party he loved. He will be remembered for his straight talking, good humour and the passion he brought to every job he had, including Health Secretary.”

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