Tributes paid after death of Tony Benn

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Tony Benn © Trinity Mirror

Tony Benn © Trinity Mirror

The death of veteran politician, diarist and peace campaigner Tony Benn has generated tributes from across Merseyside and the rest of the country.

Benn, who became one of the most influential members of Labour governments in the 1960s and 70s, died this morning at the age of 88.

He was a Member of Parliament for 50 years and often topped polls as Britain’s favourite politician, despite gaining a reputation as a firebrand earlier in his career.

Even after his retirement as an MP in 2001, he stayed involved in grass roots politics and anti-war rallies, and was a frequent visitor to Liverpool – a city that he regarded with great affection.

Speaking exclusively to JMU Journalism in 2011, he said: “Whenever I get the opportunity to come to Liverpool I always take it because I get so much from it… people are so strong and positive.

“Like everywhere Liverpool is facing cuts, but I think Liverpool is strong at the moment.”

That same year, Mr Benn visited the city to speak out against government spending cuts in an event at the Anglican Cathedral which saw 2,000 people cram into the prestigious building to hear him give a speech. At the time he told his audience it had been “inspirational” to be in Liverpool again.

Local politicians have taken to Twitter this morning to speak of their admiration for the former cabinet minister, saying how much we would be missed.

The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson tweeted: “RIP Tony Benn he truly was an iconic and inspirational figure over decades+we should remember his message #respect.”

Tony Benn © Trinity Mirror

Tony Benn 1925-2014 © Trinity Mirror

Lord Mayor Gary Millar also paid his repects via Twitter simply tweeting: “RIP Tony Benn” alongside a picture of the late politician.

Garston and Halewood MP, Maria Eagle, tweeted: “Above all, Tony Benn believed in democracy & the power of people to change the world & improve it. A giant. Condolences to his family #RIP.”

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger met him for the first time as a young student and said he inspired her to campaign and have a voice. She described him on Twitter as “a massive inspiration to so many”.

About Jessica Hayes, JMU Journalism