Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Labour MP Harry Harpham dies

Harry Harpham Image copyright Lynne Cameron/ PA Wire
Image caption Harry Harpham had recently been diagnosed with cancer

Labour MP Harry Harpham has died, aged 61, after a short fight with cancer.

He was elected as the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough in May after serving in local politics in Sheffield for many years.

A former miner in Nottinghamshire, he had previously been deputy leader of Sheffield City Council.

He was on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and was a parliamentary aide to shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy.

Mr Harpham was elected after former home secretary David Blunkett announced his intention to stand down at the 2015 election. He won the seat with a majority of 13,807.

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Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to Mr Harpham, describing him as "a proud socialist" who was "dedicated to justice for working people".

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Fellow MPs have paid tributes to Mr Harpham on Twitter

In a statement, Mr Corbyn added: "Despite the undoubted hardship that his support for the miners' strike would have caused him, as it did many thousands of miners, Harry recently told me he would have done it all again.

"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."

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson tweeted: "Deeply upset to learn of Harry Harpham's death. Sheffield has lost a wonderful MP. My thoughts are with his family."

Mr Blunkett said Mr Harpham had "given his life to the improvement of life for others".

He said: "I shall remember him as someone who was a fighter for fairness and justice and I am really, really sad that after just nine months we've lost him."

Image caption The flag is being flown at half mast at Sheffield Town Hall

A book of condolence has been opened at Sheffield Town Hall.

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield council, said: "It's difficult to express in words how sad this news is.

"I feel privileged to have known and worked alongside Harry, he was not only a loyal colleague but a valued friend, who dedicated his life to fighting for what he believed in."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott described Mr Haprham as 'a real champion'

Mr Harpham's final contribution in the House of Commons came on 20 January at Prime Minister's Questions.

Addressing the issue of job losses at Sheffield Forgemasters, he accused the government of "warm words, hand-wringing and some crocodile tears" over a "tsunami of losses in the steel industry".

Mr Harpham leaves behind his wife Gill and children Annie, Kieron, Dan, Emily and Victoria.

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