TRIBUTES have been paid to former Aberdeen MP Lord Hughes of Woodside after he sadly died aged 90.

The Labour peer, who was chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) for two decades, first stood for election in the North Angus and Mearns constituency in 1959, but did not win.

In June 1970 he won the Aberdeen North seat in the House of Commons for Labour, and was elected seven times in total before standing down in 1997, He was made a peer in the same year.

Hughes has been lauded for his anti-apartheid work, and called a “giant” in the struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa.

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He stood down from his role as chair of the AAM after apartheid was ended in 1995.

However, Hughes still served as President of Action for South Africa (ACTSA), AAM’s successor, until his death.

A spokesperson for ACTSA said on Twitter: “It's with great sadness that we report the loss of our President, Bob Hughes.

“As Chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement for decades, he saw it grow from a small team of activists to one of Britain’s largest campaigning organisations. We send sincere condolences to his family.”

Former PM Tony Blair, through the Blair Institute, said Hughes will be “much missed”.

He said: “Very sad to hear that Bob Hughes has died. He was a lovely, kind and exceptional man and embodied all that is best in public service.

“As Chair of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, he was critical in forging the international consensus and efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He will be much missed and my thoughts are with his family and many friends.”

The National:

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (pictured above) described Hughes as a "giant" of the anti-apartheid movement.

He said: "I am deeply sorry on behalf of all @ScottishLabour to hear of the death of Lord Bob Hughes.

"He was a giant of the movement and his work fighting against apartheid in South Africa must never be forgotten. He will be missed."

Blair’s former spin-chief Alastair Campbell was one of the first to pay tribute on social media.

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He wrote: “So sad to hear that Bob Hughes has died. ‘Former MP and Labour peer’ doesn’t get close. He was chair of the Anti Apartheid Movement for two decades and with Mike Terry led the most influential AAM anywhere in the world. He never sought credit but plenty was his due.

“He was a leading voice against those on the right who were on the wrong side of the apartheid battle. He never lost the belief that it could be defeated.

“He was also a lovely man who embodied the best in the values of real public service.We could do with more Bob Hughes today.”

Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of Bob Hughes former MP for Aberdeen North & Chair of the Anti -Apartheid Movement.

“A leading figure in the struggle for freedom in South Africa, Bob was a true comrade in the global labour movement, & to me personally. He will be much missed.”

Labour Peer Lord Hain said: “So sorry (Lord) Bob Hughes has died after long illness former MP chair of the British Anti -Apartheid Movement for two decades to its victorious disbandment 1994. A giant in the freedom struggle in key period.”

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Hughes also served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Scotland Office between March 1974 and July 1975, serving under then Scotland Secretary Willie Ross.

He also held the role of shadow minister for Business, Innovation and Skills between July 1985 and July 1988, as well as a three-year term on the Scottish Affairs Committee (1979-1982), and taking on the role of Chairman between 1981 and 1982.

The House of Lords voting record shows Hughes last joined remotely on January 6 2021, to vote on an amendment to the Trade Bill. 

The Times reported that Hughes's wife Margaret passed away on October 13 2021.

The Labour party has been contacted for comment.