‘Intelligent, passionate, courageous’ – tributes pour in for Baroness Hollis

Baroness Patricia Hollis in the Council Chamber at City Hall after she was presented with the Freedo

Baroness Patricia Hollis in the Council Chamber at City Hall after she was presented with the Freedom of the City award.Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant © 2007

The death of Baroness Hollis has prompted an outpouring of praise for a 'warm, friendly' yet 'formidable' woman.

Patricia Hollis speakes to anti poll tax demonstrators as she leaves Norwich City Hall

Patricia Hollis speakes to anti poll tax demonstrators as she leaves Norwich City Hall

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said: 'She was a mentor and a friend. She helped me a lot. She was a formidable woman but also a warm and friendly person who showed me no end of support.

'Her political life started in part in the US where she spent time registered black people in the south. She had a ferocious mind. And she was a staunch advocate of the Labour movement – it is a huge loss.'

Ian Gibson, former Norwich North MP, added: 'We were always good pals. I always respected the work she did in parliament on behalf of the people of Norwich and Norfolk as well. She was very supportive of me.

'She was a socialist in her thinking and she considered things deeply. She identified with people who need support. She was on the side of the people who needed the most help.'

MOre tributes have been paid to Baroness Patricia Hollis

MOre tributes have been paid to Baroness Patricia Hollis - Credit: Archant © 2007

Charles Clarke, former Norwich South MP and home secretary, said: 'It is devastating to hear of the death of Patricia Hollis.

'She was an exceptionally intelligent and passionate Labour politician who was utterly dedicated to the welfare of Norwich. From even before her leadership of the City Council, her vision played a decisive role in creating the vibrant and forward-looking city that it is today.

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'She was a very accomplished historian in her own right and campaigned tirelessly to enhance the lives of women, particularly pensioners and those dependent upon welfare benefits and, both as a Minister and from opposition, she brought about significant legal and policy changes which enhanced their lives. She will be sadly missed.'

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council and former Norwich City Council leader, said: 'I was leader of the city council when we awarded her the freedom of Norwich and we did so because she was a titan of local politics.

'I think she is rightly regarded as a leading figure in Norwich's history and, in the fullness of time, recognition of her contribution to the city will only grow.'

George Nobbs, former Labour leader at County Hall, said: 'As leader of Norwich City Council, I would say she was second only to Sir Arthur South, who I know she greatly admired.

'Although not a native of Norwich, she really took Norwich to her heart and the city took her to its heart.

'She was often controversial, but Pat was a doughty champion of the city and will be greatly missed, and not just by her Labour colleagues.'

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who was a Liberal Democrat councillor when Baroness Hollis was leader, said: 'She was a massive figure in Norwich and Norfolk politics. A colossus really. She was highly-regarded back then and continued to be so when she took on her national role.

'Her contribution particularly on welfare issues will be hugely missed.'

And Labour's leader in the House of Lords, Angela Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon said: 'We are deeply upset at the loss of our friend and colleague. Patricia was fearless in her pursuit of fairness. Facts were her weapons and her deep personal commitment to tackle discrimination and poverty gained wider public attention with her incredible speech on plans to cut tax credits.

'Patricia was also good fun, and happy to give me advice on everything from House of Lords procedure to clothes – advice that was both wise and welcome. She bore her last illness with immense courage, and we will all share in the pride of her family for all that she achieved and all that she was.'

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'Patricia will be greatly missed both as a personal friend and a great advocate for the city of Norwich.

'Her passion for social justice, piercing intelligence and compassion made her a force of nature.

'The city and the council will be a poorer place without her. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.'

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