Former Ashton MP Robert Sheldon dies at 96

Date published: 03 February 2020

Former Ashton-under-Lyne MP Robert Sheldon has died aged 96.

Lord Sheldon was elected in 1964 and served as MP until 2001. He joined the House of Lords soon after, retiring in May 2015.

The grandfather of two served on the Public Accounts Committee from 1965–66, holding the chairmanship from 1983–1997. He was also Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1975–1979. During his tenure as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he was made a Privy Counsellor in 1977.

Lord Sheldon suffered a heart attack and passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. His funeral will take place in London - where he had lived since his retirement – on Sunday.

He leaves behind wife Mary, children Gill Sargeant and Terry Sheldon (who he had with his first wife Eileen) and grandchildren David and Helen.

Terry said: “My dad loved building such a wonderful relationship with the people of Ashton and the people there talk about him with such fondness. He was so proud to serve as MP, it was so important to him. He loved helping people and he was so proud to have a road and a pub named after him in the constituency. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career and he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.”

Gill added: “My dad and fellow Northern MPs Joel Barnett and Edmund Dell became known as the Three Musketeers thanks to their strength in the finance committees and always pushing for fairer economic policy. My dad was the last surviving Musketeer. We are so very proud of everything he achieved and how loved and respected he was.”

Current Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner said: “Lord Sheldon is a treasured part of our town’s history and he was so proud to have represented the people of Ashton-under-Lyne for 37 years. He cut his political teeth as a councillor in Manchester and he still had fire in his belly when he retired from the House of Lords five years ago.

“Lord Sheldon was extremely passionate about making things better for his constituents and fighting for the best deal for Ashton-under-Lyne. He has always been a huge inspiration to me and he is still talked about so fondly by the people he served and worked with. His death is a huge loss to the Labour family. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

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