Catholics in England are mourning the leading pro-life MP Jim Dobbin, who has died aged 73.
The Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton in Greater Manchester died during a visit to Poland organised by the Council of Europe.
Mr Dobbin was co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and was awarded a papal knighthood by Benedict XVI in 2008. He had served as an MP since 1997.
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband described Mr Dobbin as a “dedicated public servant” and said his death was a “sad day for Parliament”.
He said: “A life-long, committed Catholic, Jim always took a lead in fostering links between the Church and the Labour Party, and his strong faith informed every aspect of his political and public life. This was recognised by Pope Benedict XVI when he made Jim a papal knight.
“I will miss Jim’s good friendship and decency. On behalf of the Labour Party, I offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Pat, and their children. We will all miss him.”
Catholics, pro-life groups, MPs and other admirers of Mr Dobbin’s work took to Twitter to express their condolences.
We’re truly saddened to hear the death of right-to-life Jim Dobbin MP! A great man & a true loss to UK politics. http://t.co/LplF98kl20