Former Bolton Council leader Cliff Morris dies aged 80

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Tributes have been paid to  former long serving Bolton Council leader Cliff Morris who has died at the age of 80.

He represented the ward of Halliwell from 1983, until standing down from the council prior to the elections held in May this year.

Between 2003 and 2004, he was appointed the ceremonial Mayor of Bolton and also became the leader of the Labour group in 2004.

Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel led the tributes.

He said: “I knew Cliff was unwell for some time, but it was still a shock to hear the sad news today.

“Most people knew him as Cliff the politician.

“But he was also Cliff the family man and friend.

“He was a very kind and generous person.

“He contributed a lot to the borough and to social services with his stewardship.

“And it is still one of the best in the country.

“It is just one of many of Cliff’s achievements.

“He gave a life time of service and dedication to Bolton.”

Cllr Martin Donaghy said: “Cliff Morris was a kind and compassionate man.  “May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Martyn Cox said: “It’s very sad news.  “I heard earlier in the day.  “Most of us knew he had been poorly for some time, but it’s very sad for him and his family.  “Cliff really did devote his life to Bolton.  “He did his best in his own way to try and improve the town.”

Cllr Kevin McKeon said: “I am very sad.  “I didn’t realise it was so near the end for him.  “He was a great public servant, and it is very sad.  “The Labour Party and the town should be grateful for the service he carried out over many years.”

Cllr Sean Hornby said: “I was sad to learn this afternoon of the death of Cliff Morris. My thoughts and prayers got ot his family and close friends.

“He had served Bolton Council since 2003 elected just before the death of my father the later councillor Kevan Hornby who died in 1985.

“Cliff was very supportive when I lost my daughter aged 20 months in the 1990s and always asked about the family.”

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi took to Twitter to pay tribute, saying:

“Very sad to hear about the passing of Cliff Morris, a hard working and well respected former Cllr and leader of Bolton Council.

“Rest in peace, Cliff.”

At the 1992 general election, he stood in the Bolton West Constituency.

Between 2003 and 2004, he was the ceremonial Mayor of Bolton.

He served as the Leader of the Labour Group (2004–2017) and Leader of Bolton Council (2006–2018).

Mr Morris, who led the then Labour council for 11 years until 2018, was set to become a Honorary Alderman of the borough of Bolton.

However, health issues mean the ceremony could not go ahead.

Mr Morris cut a controversial figure at times – not least over a £300,000 grant awarded by the council to the former Asons Solicitors.

He would later admit ‘some mistakes had been made’ during his time as leader and that the way the issues of the granting of £300,000 to Asons had panned out had been ‘regretful’.

During his leadership the development of Logistics North at Over Hulton got underway.

The park home to — among others — a huge Aldi distribution centre and missile company MBDA.  This had secured many jobs and had been a major boost for Bolton’s economy.

Jon Lord, Group Chief Executive Officer of Bolton at Home, said: “He was a key individual in protecting resources for the most vulnerable people in the town.”

CEO of Youth Leads UK Saeed Atcha MBE DL said: I am so very sorry to hear about the passing of Cliff Morris.
“Cliff was a man who truly believed in safeguarding children and the power of young people and always supported the work of Youth Leads UK from our infancy as a group of 15-year-old Boltonians.
“Rest in peace.”

Mr Morris and Stephen Young, the authority’s director of place, were also both shortlisted for the Heats for the Arts Awards 2018.

Mr Morris, was father to three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and married to Doreen.

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