TRIBUTES have been paid to Labour stalwart Tony Benn, who has died at the age of 88.
The former cabinet minister was first elected to parliament in the 1950s and was an MP for more than 50 years.
Councillor John Ferrett, Labour leader of Portsmouth City Council group and trade union official,
‘It is very sad for all of us in the labour movement because he was a real giant in Labour and among trade unionists.
‘He got more vocal as he got older but was also a Labour minister in the 60s and 70s and a lot of the modernisation that took place was down to him.
‘He was a real radical but also was a great Labour minister.’
On social media, prime minister David Cameron also paid tribute.
He said: ‘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 every word he said.’
Labour leader Ed Miliband described the former figurehead of the Labour left as an ‘iconic figure’ and said the party had lost a ‘champion of the powerless, a great parliamentarian and a conviction politician’.