Former minister David Cairns mourned

Political leaders turned out to pay tribute to former Scotland Office minister David Cairns at his funeral today.

The Labour MP for Inverclyde died last week at the age of 44 after becoming ill with acute pancreatitis.



He leaves behind his partner Dermot, father John and brother Billy.



The funeral service took place at St Patrick's Church in Greenock.



Labour leader Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray were in attendance, along with former chancellor Alistair Darling, ex-Scottish secretary Jim Murphy and shadow Scottish secretary Ann McKechin.



Mr Miliband said: "I think we can see from the great turnout from people here in Greenock, and people from across the political spectrum, the esteem in which David was held.



"It is a tragic loss at such a young age, a tragedy for his family, a bad loss for the Labour Party and he will be very badly missed.



"His blend of principle, warmth and passion for the issues he cared about was a very unusual one.



"He was a pioneer, the first former Catholic priest to sit in Parliament - a law was changed to make it possible for him to enter Parliament.



"He brought a sense of joy and optimism and those things are sometimes in short supply in politics and so it'll be badly missed."



The order of service included a message from Mr Cairns' father and brother thanking his family, friends, and colleagues for coming to pay their respects.



The message said: "The whole family is immensely proud of everything David achieved throughout his life.



"We will all remember David for his warmth, generosity and good sense of humour. He will be sadly missed and remembered forever."



Many of Scotland's Labour MPs were also in attendance.



Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow was at the funeral, as was Scotland Secretary Michael Moore, a Liberal Democrat MP.



Large numbers of local people attended and readings were given by children from Notre Dame High School, which Mr Cairns attended as a boy.



Former prime minister Tony Blair, who first appointed Mr Cairns as a minister in his government, gave a reading at a receiving mass at Mr Cairns' former church in Clapham, where he was a priest in the 1980s, last night.



John Reid also gave a reading, and it was attended by the majority of Labour's UK MPs and many parliamentarians from other parties.









The order of service featured pictures of Mr Cairns throughout his life, as a child praying before a church altar, playing on a scooter and playing cowboys and Indians, as a teenager reading a comic, as an MP outside the House of Commons, and as a minister at the door of No 10.



The Scottish Government was represented at the funeral by Bruce Crawford, Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business.



In his role as minister for parliamentary business in the last parliament, Mr Crawford held regular discussions with the late Mr Cairns when he was a minister at the Scotland Office, on the business of co-operation between the two administrations, the planning of legislative consent motions, and other such important issues.



Mr Crawford carried the condolences of the Scottish Government and Scottish National Party for Mr Cairns' family and friends.



The service was delivered by Father John Morrison.



He said: "As a politician and a member of parliament, David was a man of hope.



"His public service, his service to the wider community was characterised by a sincere and deep desire to give others opportunity and hope, the hope of a better tomorrow, the hope of a fairer future.



"But, as David well knew, as his family knows, Christian hope goes beyond this life to the life of the world to come, and this is what we pray for today.



"In his political life, David was a dedicated parliamentarian, a committed minister and a passionate campaigner for social justice.



"He was an effective representative of his constituents, who was respected across the political spectrum and far beyond.



"David had time for everyone and had a wonderful sense of humour. Politics in Inverclyde and Westminster will be poorer without him."



Mr Cairns was first elected to the Westminster Parliament in 2001 as Labour MP for Greenock and Inverclyde.



Parliament had to reverse a law dating back to the 19th century which banned former Catholic priests from taking up a seat.



He resigned from the Labour government in September 2008 during the fall-out over Gordon Brown's leadership.



Mr Cairns' death sparks a by-election in Inverclyde where he had a majority of 14,426 in last year's general election.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Courtney Love has admitted using heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean Cobain, her daughter with Kurt Cobain
people
Sport
Murray celebrates reaching the final
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£130 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher Jan 2015 - July...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - 9-12 Months

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Accounts Assistant is immedi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Communications Executive

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - London, £60k

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - Central London, £60,000...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness