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Tributes paid to Harold Best who has died aged 82

Key figures in Leeds’ Labour Party have been giving their tributes to former MP Harold Best who died yesterday aged 82.

Mr Best, served as a Member of Parliament for Leeds North West between 1997 and 2005 at which point he retired from being an MP. The former electrician won Leeds North West in the 1997 landslide, beating sitting MP Keith Hampson to become the first Labour MP for the constituency. Harold was a popular local MP one of his many achievements for the people of North West Leeds, was to save the Wharfedale Hospital in Otley.

The former electrician won Leeds North West in the 1997 landslide, beating sitting MP Keith Hampson to become the first Labour MP for the constituency.

Alex Sobel the current Labour MP for Leeds North West said, “My first ever tour of Parliament was with Harold and I wasn’t even a constituent, his example is something I now follow as the MP and my first ever canvassing session was with Harold on the Meanwood Valley Estate where he spoke to me about the difference a Labour Council could make. I now try to inspire young activists in the way Harold inspired me.

Harold had Leeds North West flowing through his veins and did so much to bring government funding to our area and rebuilding the Wharfedale Hospital. As his successors we have a very high bar to meet.”

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and former Leeds North West Parliamentary candidate said “My thoughts go out to Glyn and all of his family at this difficult time. So many Labour Party members across Leeds will remember Harold with great respect and affection. His famous victory in the election of 1997 changed the political map forever.

Harold served his constituents with great passion and conviction and his loss will be felt deeply by those who knew him.”

Former Labour Councillor John Eveleigh said “Harold was one of the most principled people that I knew. I got to know him very well and can say categorically that Otley would not have a Hospital today were it not for the lead that Harold took back in the late nineties.

He was a great humanitarian - and was one of the brave Labour MPs who voted and campaigned against the war in Iraq. I well remember the euphoria that we all felt when he became the first Labour MP for Leeds North West - and I was always taken by the way he connected with people.”

Anne Cherry, Chair of Leeds North West Labour Party said, “those of us who were privileged to work with Harold will remember him as a passionate supporter of the community he both lived in and represented, and a staunch defender of the best in traditional Socialism. He will be sadly missed by the many people he helped and encouraged over the years.”

Dudley Parker, Otley resident and Yorkshire blue badge tour guide said “It is with a deep sense of personal sadness that I have just learnt of the death of Harold Best MP. last evening. He counted as a personal friend and professional colleague within the Leeds Education Service He spoke at my father’s funeral. He embodied the Left-Wing Tradition of The Labour Party which he combined with an unbreakable loyalty to the cause of electing a Labour Government.

I was honoured to work with him on the campaigns and to represent him on Community Groups in the Constituency I spent time in Westminster assisting him in his duties as an MP. He epitomised the meaning of Comrade . He was the first serving Labour MP to be elected for the Constituency of Leeds North West. I salute him.”


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