‘Champion of Norwich’ and Labour peer dies aged 77

PUBLISHED: 12:47 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 15 October 2018

Baroness Patricia Hollis

Baroness Patricia Hollis

Archant © 2007

A Labour peer, “champion of Norwich” and former leader of Norwich City Council has died.

Patricia Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, has died aged 77 after a long illness.

In a statement, her partner Alan Howarth, Lord Howarth of Newport, said: “We are hugely proud of Patricia, both as a person and a politician.

“Her commitment to serving the interests of the poor and disadvantaged was unwavering and powerfully effective. And she was a great champion of Norwich, the city she led and loved.”

Baroness Hollis was a lecturer in modern history, reader and dean at the University of East Anglia (UEA) from 1967 to 1990.

She was heavily involved in local politics, serving on Norwich City Council from 1968 to 1991, and leading the council from 1983 to 1988.

She was the Labour parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth in 1974, and again in 1979, and was a Norfolk county councillor from 1978 to 1982.

In 1990 she was made a life peer as Baroness Hollis of Heigham, and was an opposition whip in the House of Lords between 1990 and 1995.

She was parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Work and Pensions from May 2001 to 2005.

Baroness Patricia Hollis speakes to anti poll tax demonstrators as she leaves Norwich City Hall in 1990. Photo: ArchiveBaroness Patricia Hollis speakes to anti poll tax demonstrators as she leaves Norwich City Hall in 1990. Photo: Archive

Baroness Hollis was also a deputy lieutenant of Norfolk.

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.”

Baroness Patricia Hollis receiving a Channel 4 Political Award for campaigning politician.Baroness Patricia Hollis receiving a Channel 4 Political Award for campaigning politician.

He said the flag at city hall would be flown at half-mast all day on Tuesday in tribute.

In June 2015, she accused the treasury of a “simple-minded alpha-male obsession with size” when it came to pulling power away from Whitehall to regions.

In the same year, she gave an impassioned speech to the Lords over George Osborne’s proposed tax credit reforms. It saw the Lords reject a financial package already backed by MPs in the Commons for the first time in 100 years.

And in 2013 she warned over the impacts of the bedroom tax, saying families in Norfolk coping with it were likely to run into arrears.

On Twitter, Labour peer Andrew Adonis said: “So, so sad that Patricia Hollis has died. One of the formidable campaigners for social justice in the history of the Labour party - utterly brilliant in the Lords, taking on all comers with devastating command.

“Great historian and leader of Norwich council.”

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