The children of alcoholic parents need help. I know this all too well

There’s no way I would ever have become an MP if it wasn’t for my dad, Dermot. Warm, funny and a 60s radical, he was the son of Irish immigrants who was inspired into a life of public service by John F Kennedy’s quote that you should “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. He paid my Labour party subs when I joined at the age of 15. But he struggled with alcohol for much of his life and, nearly two years ago, that chronic dependency killed him.

In a heartbreaking moment on a cold, grey dawn on St Joseph’s day – the patron saint of fathers – the nurses folded down his blankets so I could hold his hand as he slipped away. In the weeks that followed, I knew I had to start speaking out about the plight of children of alcoholics. All two million of them.

Read more from Liam Byrne for The Guardian here: