TRIBUTES have been paid to former Labour MP Tommy McAvoy, who has died at the age of 80.

The former Labour Party whip represented Rutherglen and Hamilton West from 2005 until he became a member of the House of Lords in 2010.

He previously served as the MP for the former Glasgow Rutherglen constituency from 1987 to 2005.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (below) has paid tribute to McAvoy, saying he was “heartbroken” at the death of a man he regarded as a mentor.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has called for an election once the SNP has a new leader (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said: “Throughout my time in politics he was always there when you needed him – to give you some of his hard earned advice or to put an arm around you.

“As a champion for Rutherglen and an ever present voice in the last Labour government, his dedication to public service changed the lives of so many people.

“He could be fierce in standing up for what he thought was right, but to me he will always be Uncle Tommy.”

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Former deputy first minister John Swinney was also among those to pay tribute, writing on Twitter/X: “I am very sorry to read this news. Tommy McAvoy was a man totally devoted to the Labour cause and determined – as a leading whip – to ensure its success.

“But he still found space to look out for others in the House of Commons and that included me. My condolences to his family.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer also said his thoughts were with McAvoy’s family and said on social media: “His long and esteemed public service, for his hometown of Rutherglen, and his loyal contribution to the Labour government, are just two ways to remember a respected, warm and honourable man.”

Michael Shanks, who was elected as Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP last year, said: “Incredibly sad news that Rutherglen’s MP for 18 years, Tommy McAvoy has passed away.

“A legend of the Labour family as a shop steward at the Hoover Factory then serving 13 years in government as a whip.

“Throughout he was a champion for Rutherglen with a great sense of humour.”