Ron Atkins: UK's longest living former MP dies aged 104

image copyrightFamily photograph
image captionRon Atkins served as a councillor until he was 92

Ron Atkins, the UK's longest living former MP, has died aged 104.

The Labour politician twice represented Preston North in Lancashire from 1966 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1979.

Mr Atkins, who later served as a Preston councillor until he was 92, "passed away peacefully" at his home in Avenham, Preston.

Elizabeth Atkins added that her husband had "devoted his life to the Labour Party" and was "driven by making the world better".

She said he would be remembered for bringing a polytechnic - now the University of Central Lancashire - to Preston instead of Blackburn, and for saving the Preston-Ormskirk railway line.

Mrs Atkins, who is a councillor for Ashton ward, said: "He was staunch Labour all his life and highly respected.

"He was a real guiding force; the Labour group in Preston called him 'the guru'."

On Mr Atkins's 103rd birthday, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his congratulations to a "passionate" socialist and "the oldest person ever to have been an MP".

Preston City Council said it was "saddened" by the news and sent "our heartfelt condolences" to his wife and family.

"Much of his long life was dedicated to public service both locally and in parliament."

It added the mayor of Preston will be making a formal statement in tribute to Ron Atkins' long life and work on behalf of the city on Monday.

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