Tributes paid after ex MP Tony Benn dies

Tributes have been paid following the death of former mining campaigner Tony Benn.

The veteran Labour politician, who represented Chesterfield between 1984 and 2001, died at home aged 88 after being seriously ill.

Mr Benn was an influential figure in the bitter mining dispute and visiting Mansfield to join demonstrators back in the 1980’s

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In a statement, his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua said: “We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff and carers who have looked after him with such kindness in hospital and at home.

“We will miss above all his love which has sustained us throughout our lives. But we are comforted by the memory of his long, full and inspiring life and so proud of his devotion to helping others as he sought to change the world for the better.”

He was considered one of the most famous post-war politicians and a great orator.

Coun Anne Western, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: “Tony Benn was a hugely influential and popular politician, the likes of whom we’ll never see again.

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“He was a conviction politician and lived by his values, which inspired trust and belief in those who voted for him, who he served faithfully.

“His contribution to public life, at both local and national level, during his long and distinguished career was immense.

“His life’s work helped make a difference to countless Derbyshire residents and his legacy will live on.

“He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Benn, who lived in London, was the son a hereditary but renounced his peerage and said he would not become a peer or go into the House of Lords.

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He entered Parliament in November 1950 and served as Minister of Technology, Industry and Energy in the Wilson and Callaghan Cabinets.

He opposed joining the Common Market, was pipped to the Deputy Leadership by Dennis Healey and backed the miners’ strike.

In recent years Mr Benn has been president of the Stop the War campaign as well as a popular public speaker.

He has topped several polls as the most popular politician in Britain.