Harry Harpham, the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough has died at the age of 61. He was first elected to the House of Commons in May 2015 having been a former miner and then political agent to David Blunkett, the constituency’s former MP.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said:
“The news of the death of Harry Harpham is extremely sad and I send my deepest condolences to his family. Harry was a proud socialist who had also been a proud miner.
To the very end he was fighting for working people in parliament. What a decent man he was and he will be sadly missed by all his friends in the Labour party”.
Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said on Twitter:
“Deeply upset to learn of Harry Harpham’s death. Sheffield has lost a wonderful MP. My thoughts are with his family”.
Harpham had won his Sheffield constituency in May 2015 having been selected to contest the seat after David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, announced that he was standing down. He won the constituency with a majority for Labour of 13,807 over UKIP’s John Booker who came second. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 17 June 2015.
In a statement on the MP’s former Facebook page a party official said:
“Harry was elected as the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough in May last year after serving Sheffield in many roles over the years, including as Deputy Leader of Sheffield Council. A former miner – maybe the final deep coal miner ever to enter parliament – Harry was fiercely proud of his union roots. He was an NUM man throughout the miners’ strike and stood firm for a full year at his Nottinghamshire pit even though many others crossed the picket line, something Harry would never have done. He put his background in energy to good use when he was promoted to the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary.
Harry’s final contribution in parliament was just a fortnight ago. In typically blunt fashion he took the Prime Minister to task for ‘warm words, hand wringing and some crocodile tears’ when it came to local job losses at Forgemasters and the future of our city’s iconic steel industry. To the very last, he was passionate about Sheffield.
Harry leaves behind his wife Gill and children Annie, Kieron, Dan, Emily and Victoria who he loved unconditionally and was intensely proud of. He was also a doting granddad to his first grandchild Layla Grace.
A proud socialist who had campaigned against apartheid in his younger years, Harry will be greatly missed in Sheffield and in Westminster”.