Dr Ian Gibson – 1938-2021

The death has been announced of Dr Gibson – a working scientist who, prior to being elected as Labour MP for Norwich North in 1997, was Dean of Biology at East Anglia. He will be remembered primarily by the ME community for his establishment and leadership of the Group on Scientific Research into ME (Gibson Parliamentary Inquiry). His aim behind the formation of the Group was to assess the progress of scientific research on ME on behalf of ME patients and researchers alike. The terms of reference for the Group was “to assess the progress of scientific research on ME, since the publication of the Chief Medical Officer’s Working Group Report into CFS/ME in 2002″. ME Research UK’s Chairman (Dr Vance Spence) and Research Director (Dr Neil Abbot) gave evidence to the Inquiry in 2006 and a summary of their evidence can be found here.

In a statement, BRAME (Blue Ribbon for the Awareness for ME), an organisation of which he was Parton, paid tribute to his contribution to the ME community.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you all that our patron Dr Ian Gibson died on Friday 9 April, aged 82, the same day as the Duke of Edinburgh. Dr Gibson, like the Duke of Edinburgh, was also someone who had a great sense of humour, and cutting wit, liked people to get to the point in a discussion, and always wanted to get his sleeves rolled up and get things done.

During his 10 years as an MP, from 1997, he helped to support our patron Tony Wright in setting up the APPG on ME, and he also set up, chaired, and was author of the 2006 Gibson Inquiry into ME (Inquiry into the status of ME/CFS and research into the causes and treatment), which some of you would have given either written, or personally presented evidence to.

Dr Gibson was a proud Scot, born in Dumfries, but made his home in Norwich. Before becoming an MP, Dr Gibson was Dean of Biology at the University of East Anglia. During his time as an MP, he was a member of, and later Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.

Dr Gibson would always speak his mind, and often not be popular within his party, because he would not follow party whip. He spoke up on behalf of so many, where he felt there was injustice, including those with ME, and with Gulf War Syndrome.

After his time as an MP, he never stopped his interest and commitment in biomedical research, to find answers to conditions like ME, and to speak up on behalf of the people of Norwich and Norfolk. One thing he has had, as a devoted football fan, is the delight of seeing over recent months is his beloved Norwich City at the top of the Championship and in line for promotion again……. We thank Dr Gibson for the time, and commitment, he gave during his life, to help support, and give a voice to people with ME and our thoughts go out to his family and all who knew him.”

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