Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field dies aged 81 as tributes pour in

Frank Field

Former Labour whip Frank Field has died at the age of 81

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 24/04/2024

- 07:26

Updated: 24/04/2024

- 08:02

Field served as the Minister of Welfare Reform in Tony Blair's government

Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field has died aged 81, his family has announced.

The former Minister for Welfare Reform served as an MP for 40 years from 1979 to 2019.

In 2018, Field resigned the Labour whip, citing antisemitism in the party.

A statement from Lord Field of Birkenhead’s family, issued by his Parliamentary office, said: "Frank Field (Rt Hon Lord Field of Birkenhead, CH) has died at the age of 81 following a period of illness.

Frank Field

Field was seen as a controversial figure in the Labour Party


The statement continued: "Frank was director of the Child Poverty Action Group between 1969 and 1979, and the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019.

"During that time, he served as a Minister for Welfare Reform and led the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances. He also chaired the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (and its predecessor Committee on Social Services and Social Security) as well as the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill.

"In 2020, Frank entered the House of Lords as the Rt Hon the Lord Field of Birkenhead, was appointed Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2022 New Year Honours and continued to serve on the boards of Cool Earth, Feeding Britain and the Frank Field Education Trust.

"Frank is survived by two brothers."


Frank Field

Frank Field speaks in the House of Commons during a debate in 2017


Tributes are being paid to the former Birkenhead MP from across the political spectrum.

Labour MP for Wallasey Angela Eagle wrote on social media: "Very sad news. Always supportive of me as his Parliamentary neighbour, brimming with ideas to make society better - a great champion of his Birkenhead constituents: RIP Frank."

Former Conservative MP for Basildon Harvey Proctor said: "I am deeply saddened to hear that Frank Field has died aged 81. We both became Members of Parliament in 1979.

"He was courteous, polite, highly intelligent & a gentle gentleman. He was personally very supportive to me during my tribulations caused by Operation Midland. My condolences to his loved ones. RIP Frank."

Frank Field

Frank Field MP after resigning from the Labour party over the anti-Semitism crisis in 2018


Lord Field took his seat in the upper chamber in October 2020 after being elected 10 times to represent Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019.

He served as welfare reform minister in Tony Blair’s first government in 1997 and went on to chair the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

He later resigned the Labour whip over antisemitism and “nastiness” in the party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The veteran politician was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2021, describing it at the time as a "terrific privilege."

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