David Taylor MP, who died on Boxing Day aged 63, was – above all – a good and decent man. He was also an excellent and hard working MP.
Throughout his 12 year period as a Labour MP, David remained true to his principles as a back-bencher who was willing to rebel and speak out against the actions of the Government when he believed it had betrayed its principles. In fact, David seemed to move further to the left during his time as an MP – but his position was consistent, while, he believed, the leadership of the Labour Party moved away from him.
One of David’s greatest qualities was his complete approachability. His personality as an MP was no different from that when he had been a ward councillor in North West Leicestershire. Letters and emails were responded to personally, diligently and courteously. Approached to host a reception at the House of Commons, or to table an Early Day Motion, David responded willingly and unhesitatingly.
Just as important to David as his membership of the Labour Party was that he was also a representative of the Co-operative Party – he was elected as a Labour and Co-operative MP and treated the two parties with equal seriousness. David’s work reflected his personal commitment to the co-operative principles of equality, respect, fairness and internationalism and he passionately believed that organisations that involved their workers and consumers were stronger and better for doing so.
David was steadfast in his commitment to many causes – he played a key role in bringing about the ban on smoking in enclosed public places and in banning fox hunting. David was strongly critical of the Private Finance Initiative, which he regarded as a rip-off. Despite the role of the Co-operative Party in putting forward foundation trusts, David was constistently sceptical of them and wary that they were a step towards the privatisation of the NHS. He was strongly against both the Iraq war and the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
David Taylor was also a friend of Ireland. He recently tabled an Early Day Motion indicating his support for a campaign to upgrade the Magee campus in Derry/Londonderry to a larger university presence. David understood from his own constituency – which had been blighted by the scars of coal mining – the importance of economic, physical and social regeneration and wanted more communities to benefit from it.
There are many ways in which David Taylor can be remembered. But it is the combination of decency, friendliness and principle that marked him out as both an outstanding Parliamentarian and an outstanding person.