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Rebel who always had a cause

PUBLISHED: 13:11 01 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 March 2010

CHIEF whip Hilary Armstrong took a day off from her problems at Westminster to represent the government and Parliamentary Labour Party at the memorial service for Jamie Cann.

CHIEF whip Hilary Armstrong took a day off from her problems at Westminster to represent the government and Parliamentary Labour Party at the memorial service for Jamie Cann.

Ms Armstrong has recently been in the firing line after putting pressure on rebel Labour backbencher Paul Marsden to tone down his criticism of the attacks on Afghanistan.

But after the memorial service, Ms Armstrong had nothing but praise for the Ipswich MP – who had rebelled against the government himself on several occasions.

"Jamie was a very good constituency MP who always put the town first, second and third," said Ms Armstrong.

"He did have differences with the Whips, but he always knew how to talk to us and his view was always respected," she said.

"Whenever he did have a difference, we were always able to have full and frank discussions – that's how it should be."

Ms Armstrong's problems with Mr Marsden resulted in him leaking the contents of a meeting they held – an act seen as a betrayal by the Whips.

"Jamie was a popular figure at Westminster, always representing Ipswich very well. His death is a loss to the House of Commons and a loss to the town – we shall all miss him," she said.

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