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Professor Wyn Grant, UK politics expert from the Department of Politics and International Studies comments on the career of Gerald Kaufman

Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton and Father of the House of Commons, has died, aged 86.

Professor Grant said: "In many ways the height of Gerald Kaufman's political career was before he became a MP. He was plucked from obscurity in 1964 to become Harold Wilson's political press officer. This was not an easy task, but he displayed considerable political acumen and became a key member of Wilson's 'kitchen cabinet'. One of his duties was to sit up with Wilson late at night waiting for a by-election results which invariably brought bad news for Labour.

“He became 'Father of the House' (the longest serving MP) almost accidentally as he and Kenneth Clarke were elected at the same time, but Clarke allowed Kaufman to go ahead of him in the swearing-in queue.

“Mr Kaufman’s death triggers another by-election. Labour won over two-thirds of the vote in Manchester Gorton in 2015 with the Green Party coming second. Even given that the constituency strongly voted Remain, and taking account of the current disarray, it is difficult to see Labour losing this seat. It is far from clear who the main challenger would be.”


Andrea Cullis: Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick

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