I spoke at the Parliament tribute to the late Sir Tony Lloyd MP

I was a bit worried today because I thought I was going to be overwhelmed with emotion and also because I thought I might find out that I was not Tony’s favourite MP. It was the mark of a good leader and a good man that he made people feel like they were his favourite and that he was telling them something special. I cannot tell you how long I have known Tony because I have been in the trade union movement for so many years and our paths crossed all the time; we were campaigning all the time on so many different issues. But I remember in 2005 when I came into Parliament, I was quite obviously distressed about something—I do not know what—and I remember Tony putting his hand on my shoulder quite gently and saying, “Dawn, you’re often going to feel lost in this place, but don’t worry.” He said that if I ever had any questions I could always ask him, no matter how silly those questions were, and I have passed that on to new MPs that come in. I always say, “If you have a silly question, ask me. It’s okay”, because I remember how Tony made me feel when he said that.

Tony also told me not to believe people who said they knew how this place worked, because inevitably they do not. That I carry with me too. The last conversation I had with Tony was at the bottom of the stairs by the Opposition office and I remember he asked me how I was and how my health was. And I thought, “Oh my goodness, he is going through what he is going through.” I remember sending him a message that me and the hon. Member for Neath (Christina Rees)—who cannot be here today but would really want to be—were feeling quite lost and we did not know what to do—[Interruption.] I do not know how to portray to the family—sorry; how to portray to the family how much he meant to us.