Tributes have been paid to a Mansfield-born MP and former Nottinghamshire miner following his death from cancer.
Harry Harpham died yesterday after losing his battle with the disease, having only been diagnosed a few months ago.
A statement on the MP’s Facebook page last night said: “It is with incredible sadness we announce that Harry Harpham MP today lost his fight with cancer.”
The former miner at Clipstone Colliery was elected MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough – succeeding former Home Secretary David Blunkett – in May last year, after serving Sheffield in many roles over the years, including as deputy leader of Sheffield City Council.
The statement said: A former miner – maybe the final deep coal miner ever to enter parliament – Harry was fiercely proud of his union roots. He was an NUM man throughout the Miners’ Strike and stood firm for a full year at his Nottinghamshire pit, even though many others crossed the picket line, something Harry would never have done.
“He put his background in energy to good use when he was promoted to the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary.
“Harry’s final contribution in parliament was just a fortnight ago. In typically blunt fashion he took the Prime Minister to task for ‘warm words, hand wringing and some crocodile tears’ when it came to local job losses at Forgemasters and the future of Sheffield’s iconic steel industry.
“Harry leaves behind his wife Gill and children Annie, Kieron, Dan, Emily and Victoria who he loved unconditionally and was intensely proud of. He was also a doting granddad to his first grandchild Layla Grace.
“A proud socialist who had campaigned against apartheid in his younger years, Harry will be greatly missed.”
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader, Tweeted: “To the very end, Harry Harpham was fighting for working people in parliament. What a decent man he was. Condolences to his family.”
Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, said: “So sad to wake up to news Harry Harpham MP has died. So premature and tragic. He was still so active until recently. He will be missed.”
And Thangham Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, said: “Condolences to all Harry Harpham MP’s family friends and colleagues in Sheffield and everywhere. A very sad loss to all of us.”