POLITICAL leaders in Burton and South Derbyshire have paid tribute to the veteran ‘political giant’ Tony Benn.
The former Labour cabinet minister died at his west London home surrounded by his family.
Jon Wheale, who hopes to become Burton’s next MP, told the Mail: “I met him a couple of times.
“He was an extraordinary politician and someone who had a remarkable career which went on for more than 50 years.
“Almost certainly, most people would know who he is and would recognise him, that is testimony to the impact he had since he came into politics.”
Mr Benn was born on April 3, 1925, and made a name for himself after he renounced his hereditary peerage to remain in the House of Commons – a move which drew praise from South Derbyshire district councillor Paul Dunn.
He said: “The fact that he gave it up speaks volumes about the man and what his politics were.
“I think everybody could learn from Tony Benn because he wasn’t just about himself, he was about caring for other people irrespective of where they are in the world.
“He was a political giant who will be sadly missed.”
The leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, Julian Mott, said Mr Benn’s reputation commanded respect from across the political spectrum.
He said: “He was a huge figure in the Labour movement and very popular.
“I remember he came to speak at Burton Town Hall and the place was packed out.
“He was the sort of politician who could command respect not just from his own party, but other parties as well.”