Tributes to former Luton MP Sir Graham Bright

Image caption,

Conservative Sir Graham Bright served as a Luton MP from 1979 to 1997

  • Author, Louise Parry
  • Role, BBC News, East of England

Tributes have been paid to the former Conservative MP Sir Graham Bright, who has died aged 81.

Sir Graham represented Luton East/South from 1979 to 1997 and became parliamentary private secretary to Prime Minister John Major.

In 2012, he became the first police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Cambridgeshire.

His family said Sir Graham was “dedicated to public service and to making a difference to the lives of his constituents”.

They said he “died peacefully following a short illness” on Friday, after being cared for at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge.

The current PCC for Cambridgeshire, Darryl Preston, said Sir Graham was “the ultimate public servant” who was “passionate about keeping people safe”.

Cambridgeshire Police said he helped create the country’s first victim hub and supported “a number of initiatives to divert young people from crime”.

Image caption,

Sir Graham was elected as Cambridgeshire’s first police and crime commissioner in 2012

Sir Graham started his political career in Essex as a member of Thurrock Borough Council in 1965, and then served on Essex County Council 1967-70.

He then moved to Luton after being elected as the MP for Luton East. That constituency name disappeared in 1983 when Luton South was created.

Sir Graham introduced the bill, which became law in the 1980s, declaring among other things that he believed research “will show that these films not only affect young people but will affect dogs as well”.

The former Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker, said he was “saddened to hear of the passing of my predecessor”.

“He was invariably kind and encouraging on the occasions we met, and had a worldly-wise view of Westminster,” said Mr Shuker.

The current PCC for Bedfordshire, Conservative Festus Akinbusoye said: “I still meet people in Luton who remember him fondly.”

Baroness Nicky Morgan, who served with the Conservative government 2013-2020, remembered “such a generous man with a love for life and an endless supply of great anecdotes”.

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