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Home   Kent   News   Article

Kent tributes to veteran Labour politician Tony Benn after death at 88

14 March 2014
by Paul Francis
Tributes have been paid in Kent today to the veteran Labour politician Tony Benn, who has died aged 88.
 
The former Cabinet minister, who made regular visits to the county and was an active supporter of the striking miners in Kent, passed away at home this morning.
 
Jonathan Shaw, the former Labour MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said: "Irrespective of whether you agreed with him, he had an ability to engage with people and was the most charming person - he was self-deprecating and amusing and was also willing to listen to people.
Veteran politician Tony Benn on a visit to Kent

Veteran politician Tony Benn on a visit to Kent

"When I was a minister at Defra with Hilary Benn [his son] he would regularly drop in - he was immensely proud of his son."
 
His achievements as a minister were often overlooked, Mr Shaw added. "People tend to forget some of the things he did, like pushing through the development of Concorde and opening the Post Office tower in London."
 
Kent County Council Labour group leader Gordon Cowan said: "He was outspoken and unwavering in his views and was prepared to stand up for them and I admired him for that. He will be sorely missed."
 
Cllr Vince Maple, Labour group leader on Medway Council, said: "The Labour movement has lost a true icon. he was someone who gave hope to many. His ability to articulate his values and speak up for those without a voice was an inspiration."
Kent Labour group leader Cllr Gordon Cowan

Kent Labour group leader Cllr Gordon Cowan

When he first entered Parliament at the age of 25, Mr Benn subsequently had to find a way to renounce his peerage to remain in the House of Commons.
 
He was an MP for 50 years and when he left, he quipped that he was doing so to spend more time in politics.
 
His support was acknowledged when during the miners' dispute, on a visit to Kent, he was presented with a strike memorial plate by the Kent Area National Union of Mineworkers.
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphick said: "Tony Benn was a powerful advocate and stands as a role model for all of the hard left and the militant tendency.

"He will be missed and after the passing of Bob Crow this week, our public life will once again be that bit less and colourful and duller without him."

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