Frank Field: former Labour minister who quit over Jeremy Corbyn and crossbench peer dies aged 81

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Lord Field, who has died aged 81, had served as MP for Birkenhead for 40 years before joining the House of Lords

Former Labour minister Frank Field has died at the age of 81, his family has announced.

The politician was also a crossbench peer, holding the title of Rt Hon Lord Field of Birkenhead. Lord Field, who was an MP for Birkenhead for four decades, served as a minister for welfare reform under Tony Blair’s government before joining the House of Lords in 2020 as a non-affiliated, crossbench peer.

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The Conservative government bestowed the role onto him after he campaigned in favour of Brexit. He also quit the Labour group in 2018 after branding the leadership of former leader Jeremy Corbyn a “force for anti-Semitism in British politics”.

A statement from his family, issued by his Parliamentary office, said: “Frank Field (Rt Hon Lord Field of Birkenhead, CH) has died at the age of 81 following a period of illness. Frank was director of the Child Poverty Action Group between 1969 and 1979, and the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019.

“During that time, he served as a Minister for Welfare Reform and led the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances. He also chaired the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (and its predecessor Committee on Social Services and Social Security) as well as the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill.”

They added: “Frank is survived by two brothers. He will be mourned by admirers across politics but above all he will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to have enjoyed his laughter and friendship.”

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In October 2021, it was announced that Lord Field had been spending time in a hospice, with the peer unable to attend some debates as a result. He was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2022, describing it as a “terrific privilege”.

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