David Cairns MP

It was a shock to learn that David Cairns passed away on Monday. He was a wonderful person. He gave me great encouragement especially in my work with the Christian Socialist Movement. David was CSM's first full time Coordinator and knew the organisation from the inside. He understood well the internal debates and discussions we had from time to time and supported the change to CSM's constitution a few years ago. My sympathies are with his partner, father and brother, and friends. At CSM we issued a short statement, which I've reproduced below:

David Cairns MP
The Christian Socialist Movement has been saddened at the news that David Cairns MP passed away on Monday. He will be much missed.

David was a good friend of CSM and many members will remember him with great affection. Trained as a Roman Catholic priest, David was appointed CSM’s Coordinator in 1994 (a position subsequently renamed Director). David helped CSM engage with politics at a time when interest in faith and politics was reviving. Labour leader John Smith had transformed debate on the issue with his CSM Tawney Lecture in 1993. His successor, Tony Blair, was also a Christian Socialist and interest in CSM increased. David worked to ensure CSM became more professional in the way it was run and able to engage more effectively with policy debates in the Labour Party.

David was first elected to parliament in 2001, as Labour MP for Greenock and Inverclyde (now called Inverclyde). He served as parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister of State at the Scotland Office from 2005 until 2008.

David was 44 when he passed away, having suffered from acute pancreatitis.

CSM Chair Alun Michael MP said: “CSM wouldn’t be around today in its present form if it wasn’t for the work David and others did all those years ago.”

CSM Director Andy Flannagan said: “David was a lovely guy who continued to encourage CSM even while busy putting Christian values into practice as an MP and minister.”

Our sympathies go out to David’s partner, Dermot, his father, John, and his brother, Billy.

The Labour Party has issued a statement which can be found here.

Stephen Beer, 11/05/2011

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