Former Labor MP Frank Field speaks of ‘formidable privilege’ receiving honor


a seasoned politician who served as an MP for 40 years spoke of the “terrible privilege” of receiving a prestigious award on the New Year’s honors list.

Frank Field 79, now a crossbench peer, was made a member of the Order of Companions of Honor, joining Sir Elton John JK Rowling and Sir Paul McCartney.

Lord Field’s recognition of public and political service comes after a career in which the former minister has shown support for causes such as pension reform and ending child poverty.

Lord Field was Member of Parliament for Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019 (Victoria Jones / PA) / AP Archives

Lord Field of Birkenhead told the PA News Agency: “Well, I am very honored to receive this recognition, it is a tremendous privilege given the honor itself and what it represents.

“Following the work I have done, it’s a nice thought to conclude this year”.

He highlighted the “important” issues he had campaigned to help eradicate over the past 12 months, including modern slavery.

Lord Field added: “This is unfortunately only a start, but we have committees and officials from both Houses of Parliament now looking into this matter and I hope this will continue for years to come.”

Prior to entering Parliament, Lord Field – who joined former Chancellor George Osborne and former Conservative Minister Lord Tebbit as a member of the Order of Companions of Honor – was a leading figure in the Action Group Against Child Poverty and the Low Wage Unit.

He took his seat in the House of Lords in October 2020 after being elected 10 times to represent Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019.

Lord Field chaired the select committee on work and pensions (Michael Stephens / PA) / AP Archives

He served as welfare reform minister in Tony Blair’s first government in 1997 with a mission to “think the unthinkable” and then chaired the select committee on work and pensions.

Lord Field remained minister for welfare reform for just over a year following political clashes with then Prime Minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Mr Blair said that instead of thinking the unthinkable, Lord Field ended up “thinking the unfathomable”.

He continued his views on welfare reform after being sacked as minister.

As chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, he campaigned against the way Universal Credit was deployed and had a number of colorful clashes, most notably with former BHS boss Sir Philip Green.

Lord Field was also a member of the Labor Leave group.

Lord Field has stepped down as Labor whip for anti-Semitism in the party under Jeremy Corbyn, pictured (Kirsty O’Connor / PA) / PA wire

Along with three Labor colleagues, he sided with the Conservatives in a decisive Brexit vote in 2018.

He saw him accused of treason, which resulted in him losing a vote of no confidence in his Birkenhead constituency Labor Party, although he insisted he was standing up for class voters Brexit worker.

Lord Field’s comments accusing Mr Blair of launching an ‘open door’ immigration policy also ruffled the feathers of former party colleagues.

He then resigned as the Labor Party whip for anti-Semitism and “wickedness” in the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

In October, Lord Field revealed he was terminally ill and had spent time in a hospice.

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