Much-loved veteran politician Tony Benn has died. The outspoken left-wing activist passed away peacefully aged 88 on Friday, surrounded by his family. Throughout his life he inspired thousands of people across the political spectrum with his brilliant speaking, writing and campaigning.
Benn was a different kind of leader, making his mark amongst politicians and ordinary people alike, influential across the political spectrum. This powerful legacy is evident in the hundreds of posts made on Twitter this morning which pay tribute to his strength and conviction. Although the tweets are threaded through with grief at the loss of such an extraordinary man, it is clear his principles and influence live on. He touched so many with his unwavering commitment to the type of politics that would really affect people’s lives. The tributes to be found on Twitter are brimming with emotion. They serve as a moving eulogy to a man who led the left with great integrity and conviction.
Really sad to learn Tony Benn has died. A man of integrity who used his voice to stand up for the poor and powerless RIP; Mark Russell (@markrusselluk) March 14, 2014
Tony Benn is the only person I have allowed to smoke a pipe in my church. RIP. Great man.; Giles Fraser (@giles_fraser) March 14, 2014
RIP Tony Benn. He cut through the grey political jargon and spoke in a language that made sense. A great man.; Robert Peach (@Bizarro_Peach) March 14, 2014
The man who turned down a knighthood! RIP Tony Benn; AdamU (@AdamUmerji1) March 14, 2014
Say what you believe, believe what you say. That's authenticity. RIP Tony Benn; Reena Mukherji (@ReenaMukherji) March 14, 2014
RIP fabulous Tony Benn-inspiring, entertaining, highly principled, tea drinking, vegetarian! One of the very last good guys in politics+life; Karen Heath Mama Cat (@kittykaren) March 14, 2014
A big loss today, a man with principles and honour and not the merest hint of arrogance, careerism or corruption, RIP Tony Benn; Nigel Fleeman (@Nigel_Fleeman) March 14, 2014
Passionate, courageous and compassionate. Not many like him in politics, or anywhere else. RIP Tony Benn.; Jenny Cornish (@JennyCornish) March 14, 2014
"All progress comes from underneath. All real achievements are collective." - RIP Tony Benn, a thinker and doer who cared.; Owen Sheers (@owensheers) March 14, 2014
RIP Tony Benn: ‘A faith is something you die for; a doctrine is something you kill for; there is all the difference in the world’ – 1989.; MHealth Extremist (@wildwalkerwoman) March 14, 2014
RIP Tony Benn. Sad news. "If we've got money to kill people, we've got money to help people." Legend.; Kam Sandhu (@KamBass) March 14, 2014
"Truth still has value, both in politics and our society." - Tony Benn; Lauren Laverne (@laurenlaverne) March 14, 2014
Everybody's already said everything there is to say so all I'll add is: the man really knew how to smoke a pipe. RIP Tony Benn.; The_No_Show (@The_No_Show) March 14, 2014
In a statement his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua said: "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."
Mr Benn first entered parliament in November 1950 and served in the cabinet under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan. He narrowly missed out on election as Labour deputy leader in 1981, and was instrumental in party's 1983 manifesto.
In 2001 Mr Benn stepped down from parliament in order to 'spend more time on politics'.
He remained an active and outspoken member of the Labour party. In recent years he had been a central member of the anti-war movement.
The wit and wisdom of Tony Benn
The wit and wisdom of Tony Benn
1/15 Tony Benn Quotes
1. Making mistakes is part of life. The only things I would feel ashamed of would be if I had said things I hadn't believed in order to get on. Some politicians do do that.
2/15 Tony Benn Quotes
2. All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
3/15 Tony Benn Quotes
3. The Marxist analysis has got nothing to do with what happened in Stalin's Russia: it's like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain.
4/15 Tony Benn Quotes
4. Broadcasting is really too important to be left to the broadcasters.
5/15 Tony Benn Quotes
5. The one thing that is absolutely essential is that there shouldn't be any governmental control [of the media] directly or indirectly.
6/15 Tony Benn Quotes
6. I've had a very full life, and I've enjoyed it very much. I've learned a great deal and feel indebted to all the people who have worked so hard.
7/15 Tony Benn Quotes
7. I see myself as an old man and an unqualified teacher to the nation. I think being a teacher is probably the most important thing you can be in politics.
8/15 Tony Benn Quotes
8. A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for. There is all the difference in the world.
9/15 Tony Benn Quotes
9. I've got four lovely children, ten lovely grandchildren, and I left parliament to devote more time to politics, and I think that what is really going on in Britain is a growing sense of alienation. People don't feel anyone listens to them.
10/15 Tony Benn Quotes
10. I do not share the general view that market forces are the basis of personal liberty.
11/15 Tony Benn Quotes
11. "Parliament is the buckle that links the street to the statute book."
12/15 Tony Benn Quotes
12. "The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it - a bit like Christians in the Church of England."
13/15 Tony Benn Quotes
13. "I think New Labour is probably over."
14/15 Tony Benn Quotes
14. "All progress comes from underneath. All real achievements are collective."
15/15 Tony Benn Quotes
15. "You can't create democracy by invasion."
He had recently moved into sheltered accommodation near his home in Holland Park, London, following a stroke last year.
Last month he was taken into hospital, where his condition was reported as "seriously ill".
His most recent public appearance was in December when he spoke at a service remembering Nelson Mandela.
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