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'A tireless champion for human rights': Stephen Morgan pays tribute to Lord Judd

Stephen Morgan with Lord Judd

3 min read

A man of warmth, generosity and genuine humanity, Frank Judd was a Labour hero and a Portsmouth great

I will remember Frank for his warmth, generosity and genuine humanity, which I know is widely felt by the people of Portsmouth and members across both Houses.

He was a tireless champion for human rights, who had immense dedication and respect for our city. For me, he will also forever be a shining example that I will continue to judge myself against, as another parliamentary representative for Portsmouth.

Serving as navy minister in Wilson’s government, in the Department for Overseas Development and as minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under Jim Callaghan’s leadership, and as an MP for Portsmouth for a combined total of around 13 years, Frank was a truly committed public servant to our great city, its citizens and our history.

He was an honest, decent man who always had the time to listen to and support the next generation. I was lucky enough to be one of the many who benefited from his kind nature, when he took me under his wing when I first stood for city council and I continued to consider him a mentor right to the end.

I held a public meeting with him back in 2018 and it was truly remarkable, although not surprising, to see so many come far and wide to hear from Frank. I distinctly remember, however, the challenges of our mic equipment failing which, due to Frank’s challenges with hearing he had in later life, led to slightly uncomfortable moments of having to raise my voice to get the message across. I’m not sure all the questions got through, but I think we were all very happy to hear his thoughts, nonetheless.

He was an honest, decent man who always had the time to listen to and support the next generation

Despite these obstacles, they did not hinder his unfaltering commitment to internationalism, even into his final days. On April 13, the day before he was admitted to hospital, he voted in the Lords to remove parts of the Overseas Operations Bill, which I have been leading Labour’s response on in the Commons as shadow armed forces minister, including what we believe would stop armed forces personnel being prosecuted for torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, when on overseas operations. Upon a clear government defeat in the Lords, the government has now accepted to remove that part of the Bill which would break international law, and I want to dedicate that victory to Frank.

Despite not being born in the area, he was Lord Judd of Portsea, the island of which Portsmouth calls home. Even still, it was also very much Frank’s home too; he was very proud to have been made a Freeman of the City, and we were both incredibly lucky and proud to have him.

Frank’s wisdom and insight will continue to live on through the legacy he has left behind from his work outside of his parliamentary life too, including his role as a director of Oxfam for many years, a member of the Advisory Board at the Centre for Human Rights and his chairmanship of the World Economic Forum Conference in Geneva on the future of South Africa in the early nineties.

My thoughts are with Lady Judd, Frank’s family and loved ones. I also know the people of Portsmouth, will forever consider Frank a part of our their own as well.

He was a hero, a Portsmouth great and I will miss him and his cheeky smile, deeply.

Rest in peace, Frank.


Stephen Morgan is Labour MP for Portsmouth South

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