Frank Dobson dead Ex-Labour MP and Tony Blairs first health secretary dies aged 79


EX-LABOUR MP and Tony Blairs first health secretary Frank Dobson has died aged 79

Mr Dobson served in Mr Blair’s cabinet after the landslide Labour victory in 1997 and resigned from the Commons four years ago.

Frank Gordon Dobson was a British Labour Party politician

He had served as Holborn and St Pancras MP for 36 years.

Speaking about his passing today, Labour candidate David Lammy described him as an “icon”.

He said: “So sad to hear Frank Dobson has passed. Frank was my mentor for many years in my early years in politics and in so many ways an icon in London Labour and the wider movement.

“Rooted in the community he loved a curry, was v funny, kind and patient.”

After Mr Dobson retired as an MP, he was replaced by Sir Keir Starmer, now the shadow Brexit secretary.

The Yorkshire-born former leader of Camden Council was Labour’s candidate at the mayoral election in 2000 having been persuaded to go for the newly-created job by Mr Blair.

Mr Dobson came third, losing out to then-Independent Ken Livingstone. Tory Steve Norris came second.

Announcing his passing, a family spokesman 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.”


Mr Dobson entered the Commons the same year Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

Following his unsuccessful bid for City Hall at the turn of the millennium, he returned to the backbenches and spoke out against a string of party policies including the Iraq War, top-up fees for students, the marketisation of parts of the NHS and longer detention without charge for terror suspects.

Following his decision to step down in 2015, he said: “It has been an honour to represent the people of Holborn and St Pancras for all these years and to have made at least some contribution to making it a better place to live.

“I am proud of the people I represent. They get on together and help one another.

“Outsiders who have tried to stir up divisions have always failed. Common sense and human decency have prevailed.

“It has been hard work keeping up with the needs and aspirations of local people and helping resolve their problems. My constituents have been slow to chide and swift to bless.”

He leaves behind his wife Janet and their three children.

Mr Dobson has sadly passed away on Monday night at the age of 79