Kate Hoey has been a key voice on behalf of Northern Ireland

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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Our picture on page 11 shows Kate Hoey waving the Northern Ireland flag at a football match.

What a fitting image to illustrate her commitment to our Province.

Ms Hoey is a long-standing follower of our football team and has followed it to countries overseas.

This, we should not forget, is someone who severed as sports minister for the UK wide.

She also defended boxers who want to fight for the UK, not for Ireland.

But sport has only been a part of the Ulster-born MP’s political career.

Latterly she has been a staunch supporter of Brexit and sometimes therefore dubbed ‘right wing,’ but that is not a fair characterisation of her support for trade unions, for example.

In fact she personified a sort of left wing politics that has a long and proud tradition, back to Clement Atlee and beyond, of a strong sense of social justice combined with an unapologetic love of country.

Latterly, given the guaranteed weakness of British governments, Labour and Conservative just the same, in the face of nationalist Ireland, such a voice has been badly needed beyond the benches of the 18 Northern Ireland MPs.

Ms Hoey has struck alliances across the political divide, including a good relationship with the former mayor of London Boris Johnson, and likely next prime minister.

But there is no doubt that her outspoken support for exiting the European Union put her on a collision course with the cosmopolitan, europhile outlook of so many of her constituents and local Labour colleagues.

This is a loss to the Vauxhall seat that she represented so well for so long.

As a youthful 73-year-old, her political career is surely not already over. We look forward to discovering her next moves in public life.