HIS politics may have divided opinion, but his charm, enthusiasm and dedication were admired by both the left and right.
Political grandfather and left-wing campaigner Tony Benn, died at his home yesterday, aged 88.
The Labour MP joined Parliament in November 1950, aged just 25, and served in the cabinet under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.
During his career he renounced his peerage, which he inherited on his father’s death, to remain in the House of Commons.
And when he retired in 2001, he famously said he wanted to “spend more time on politics”.
Mr Benn, who represented the nearby Bristol constituency, visited Gloucester Guildhall in February 2010 where he spoke to a sell-out audience about the NHS, the Iraq war and the Post Office.
He was a prolific diarist and tea drinker and also made appearances at Cheltenham Literature Festival.
David Drew, Stroud MP from 1997 to 2010 and Labour perspective parliamentary candidate, said: “This is very sad, if not unexpected news. I have known him for more than 40 years.
“He was a regular visitor to Stroud and I got to appreciate his gifts when we were both Labour MPs.
“Tony will be remembered as a socialist, a democrat and a superb Parliamentarian.”
Gloucester’s parliamentary candidate Labour Sophy Gardner added: “Tony Benn was a man of principle and my thoughts are first and foremost with his family who can and will be so proud of all he achieved during his busy and far reaching life.
“His passing is a really sad moment for the Labour Party, we have lost an iconic figure who spoke to an age of British politics.”