Former Lib Dem MP Ronnie Fearn dies at 90

Sad news reached our ears on Monday night, that former Southport Lib Dem MP Ronnie Fearn had died. We wanted to wait for the news to become more public before we shared it though.

From the Liverpool Echo

Tributes have been paid to a former Merseyside MP, described as “Mr Southport”, who has died aged 90.

Ronald Fearn, known as Ronnie, was MP for Southport from 1987 to 1992 and 1997 to 2001, serving first as a member of the Liberal party and later as a Liberal Democrat.

He also served as a councillor for Sefton Council from 1974 to 2016 and previously for the county council – he was the longest serving councillor in the borough by the time of his retirement in his 80s, having served in politics for over 50 years.

I first came across him at the Glee Club at the 1992 Spring Conference in Glasgow. His “turns” were legendary and unique. His version of the Al Jolson song You Made Me Love You had the whole room in hysterics. He stopped doing them after he got into the House of Lords.

His successor as Southport MP, John Pugh paid tribute to him:

Ronnie was a one-off, a true phenomenon.

Although he will long be remembered for his political career, in no sense was he a typical politician but a man who loved and was interested in people- their common concerns and individual differences.

I have met very few politicians with more instinct for what bothers and what pleases ordinary folk, young and old.

“Linked into his community in so many ways it was hard to find a street in Southport where no-one claimed to know him personally.

“He was truly a mould-breaking politician being the only Lib Dems gain in the 1987 General Election.

“Despite that and latter success and responsibilities, he continued delighting everyone by performing and producing the legendary All Souls pantomimes- never losing his sense of proportion amidst the absurdities of Westminster.

Our condolences to his family. Please share your memories of Ronnie in the comments.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Duncan Brack 26th Jan '22 - 10:41am

    Very sad news. I’m relaying this message from Michael Steed, who provided it for a tribute we will publish in the Journal of Liberal History in due course: ‘His electoral track record in Southport was truly impressive – securing a good 2nd place when he first stood in 1970, plus his victory in 1987 (he hadn’t been candidate in 1983) all indicate an exceptional personal pull. He actually stood four times (1970, 1974, 1974 and 1979) before winning the seat.’

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