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Tony Benn dies at 88

14 March 2014

Tony Benn dies at 88

Photo by Chris Boland (Boland Actor Headshots)

The family of Labour Politician and Congregational Supporter Tony Benn have announced today that he died peacefully at home surrounded by his family early this morning.

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."

They said arrangements for his funeral will be announced in due course.

Many tributes have been paid to him and we share them here:

I am sorry to hear that Tony Benn has died. He was a magnificent writer, speaker, diarist and campaigner, with a strong record of public and political service. There was never a dull moment listening to him, even when you disagreed with everything he said.
David Cameron, Prime Minister

Tony Benn was the articulate advocate of socialism who inspired my generation and gave us all hope of a fair and equal society. He will be remembered for his principled commitment to his socialist beliefs and his principled stand on so many issues. His passing adds to a terribly sad week for the Left, coming so soon after the loss of Bob Crow.
Labour MP John McDonnell

I was very sad to learn of Tony Benn’s passing. I have been proud to know him for the last two decades and to be able to call him a friend.
He was a man of deep socialist principle, obvious humanity and great personal warmth. A brilliant parliamentarian, he penned amongst the most memorable political diaries. He will be sorely missed.
John Bercow, the Commons Speaker

Tony Benn was a powerful, fearless, relentless advocate for social justice and people’s rights whose writing as well as speeches will continue to have a profound influence on generations to come. My thoughts are with his family, whom he adored.
Gordon Brown, former Labour prime minister

Tony Benn will be remembered as a champion of the powerless, a great parliamentarian and a conviction politician.
He spoke his mind and spoke up for his values. Whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him, everyone knew where he stood and what he stood for.
For someone of such strong views, often at odds with his party, he won respect from across the political spectrum.
This was because of his unshakeable beliefs and his abiding determination that power and the powerful should be held to account.
He believed in movements and mobilised people behind him for the causes he cared about, often unfashionable ones. In a world of politics that is often too small, he thought big about our country and our world.
Above all, as I had cause to know, he was an incredibly kind man. I did work experience with him at the age of 16. I may have been just a teenager but he treated me as an equal. It was the nature of the man and the principle of his politics.
I saw him for the last time a couple of weeks ago in hospital. He may have been ailing in body but was as sharp as ever in mind. As I left he said to me ‘Well, old son. Let’s have a proper talk when you have more time’.
As he said of his wife Caroline at her funeral, he showed us how to live and how to die.
All of my condolences go to his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua and his wider family. In their own ways, they are all a tribute to him as a father, a socialist, and a most decent human being.
Ed Miliband, Labour Leader