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Tribute to Frank Dobson on his retirement

Tuesday 22 July has marked the end of an era in Camden politics. As is no doubt reported elsewhere, Frank Dobson announced that he would not be contesting the next General Election. Frank has been our MP for 35 years – and before that he was council leader.  He has been the ever present strength of our party and civic life. He was part of a council that led the way in building council housing  – and his passion for highlighting the housing crisis has remained undiminished.

He was our MP during the bleak years of Thatcherism, standing out against the individualistic and materialist society that she sought to shape – instead always arguing for collectivism and socialism.

He was the Heath Secretary that helped save UCH and launched NHS Direct. To the pride of our local party, he was a leading opponent of the illegal war in Iraq. He has been the leader of numerous campaigns to help this local area – be it campaigning for a school south of the Euston Road, or to stop HS2.

He has never been afraid to disagree – even if it was with a Labour government or a Labour Council.  His account of the fight against apartheid always reminds us of the value of standing up for what is right – even when the odds have seemed overwhelmingly against.

For 15 years and at least 6 elections, I have been on the streets of this constituency, canvassing, handing out leaflets at street stalls or speaking at meetings. I can say without hesitation, that on virtually every occasion, someone would say to me – “I know Frank – he helped me”.

It is universal truth in Holborn and St Pancras that everyone had a story or recollection about “Frank”. We could all feel his passion and love for this area – He was part of our community yet he has influenced local, national and international change. We thank him for his dedication to public service and making life better for those vulnerable in society. We are proud and lucky to have had you as our MP.

Raj Chada
Chair of Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party