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
— Right To Life (@RightToLifeUK) September 7, 2014
Respected Catholic Labour MP Jim Dobbin has passed away suddenly. May he rest in peace. http://t.co/IK33ewAGV5
— Catholic Voices (@CatholicVoices) September 7, 2014
Very sorry to hear of death of Jim Dobbin MP; a staunch defender of the unborn, the disabled and the vulnerable. Parliament will miss him.
— Tim Montgomerie (@TimMontgomerie) September 7, 2014
Very sorry to hear the sad news of Jim Dobbin's death. He was a man of huge integrity and warmth. Stranger's bar will miss his humour
— Conor Burns MP (@Conor_BurnsMP) September 7, 2014
RIP Jim Dobbin. A true champion of prolife cause.
— Therese Coffey (@theresecoffey) September 7, 2014