I was intending to blog today though not on this subject.
As many will know Gerald had been ill for sometime, but even so, the death of somebody who has been such a towering figure in the life and the politics of the city for so long still comes as a shock. Gerald was of course a great parliamentarian and I'm sure much will be written in tribute to him regarding that. I though knew him as the MP for Manchester Gorton. He was a great friend to the city but more importantly he was a great servant to the people of the Gorton constituency, the people he represented.
Having been at the sharp end of many of the thousands of representations he made on behalf of his constituents I can vouch for the vigour with which he pursued their concerns, and the way he didn't recognise no as an answer. Over the years I have attended countless events in the constituency and spent many a day knocking on doors with him, witnessing on every occasion the esteem in which he was held. When he got up to speak you were left in no doubt that the political fire, the will to make a better, fairer world was still in his belly, even as he approached five decades as an MP. He worked for the constituency and they rewarded him in the 2015 general election with a massive swing in his favour at a time when his party was not doing so well elsewhere.
More hidden was the work Gerald did lobbying in Westminster and Whitehall on behalf of the city. His reputation and record meant there were few doors he could not penetrate with ease and on many occasions, perhaps most notably around the Commonwealth Games, his interventions were essential. As a Manchester MP, his record is one that is unlikely to ever be matched.