INVERCLYDE’S MP David Cairns MP has died, aged 44.
In a statement released at 12.15pm today, a Labour Party spokesperson said: "It is with great regret that we have to announce that David Cairns, Member of Parliament for Inverclyde, passed away at 11 o’clock last night at the Royal Free, London. David had been suffering from acute pancreatitis after he was admitted as an emergency patient eight weeks ago. Our thoughts are with his partner Dermot, his father John, his brother Billy and all his many friends and family. David’s untimely death is a huge loss to parliament and politics in this country."
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, said: "David will be missed beyond measure as a former minister, as an MP, as a friend and a colleague by many people and my heart especially goes out to his partner Dermot and his family in Scotland. David was an immensely talented Member of Parliament who campaigned diligently on behalf of his constituents in Greenock and Inverclyde. A highly effective Minister of State in the Scottish Office, he was Labour through and through and yet was much-respected across the political divide. As a former Catholic priest he brought a sensitive understanding of others and a ready wit to politics and he never shied away from saying what he believed to be true. The Labour Party will miss him profoundly. He was a good man."
Iain Gray, Scottish Labour Leader, said: "I worked closely with David and the Scotland Office and everyone who knows David will be devastated by this news, and at such a young age. He was a man of enormous dignity, courage and outstanding intellect. His time as a minister was characterised by good humour, good judgement and good character. He had so much more to give his party and his country. He is a huge loss to Scottish and progressive politics. His shrewd political analysis never dulled his quick wit and sense of fun. His true calling in life was always to help others."
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Ann McKechin MP said: "He was a dear colleague of exceptional skill, widely recognised in and out of parliament. He was a good friend to us all and we will miss him enormously. Our thoughts are with his family at this most difficult of times."
Duncan McNeil MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde said: "This is such a huge loss. People are just shell-shocked. David was a colleague and a friend to so many people and highly respected. He was a big talking point in Inverclyde – people were always asking how he was doing these last few weeks. So many people have handed in cards, and I know prayers have been said for him across all faiths. People in Inverclyde were enormously proud to have such a talented and respected MP representing them."
Tom Greatrex MP, who previously worked closely with David Cairns at the Scotland Office, said: "David Cairns was a gifted and dedicated Member of Parliament who worked hard for the people he represented in and around Greenock, and as a Minister in the last Labour government. His energy, drive and commitment to the creative industries in Scotland will be sorely missed in Parliament. He was a good friend, and his tragic loss at such an early age is a real blow. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time."
Mr Cairns,a former Scotland Office minister, was taken into hospital suffering from with acute pancreatitis in March.
He served Inverclyde as an MP for almost 10 years. He was re-elected last year with 56 per cent of the vote.