The British Humanist Association (BHA) is saddened to note the death of Harry Harpham, the former miner, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG). Harry, who became an MP at the 2015 general election, was diagnosed with cancer last year and died on 4 February.
Having spent much of his early life as a coal miner, Harry was a committed trade unionist and went on to serve in local politics in Sheffield for a number of years, including as deputy leader of the Council. He was elected to Parliament with a majority of nearly 14,000 last year, taking the seat of former Home Secretary David Blunkett after he announced his decision to stand down.
In addition to being a member of the APPHG, Harry served on the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee and was a parliamentary aide to Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy.
Following the news of Harry’s death, there has been a flood of tributes from his Labour Party colleagues. David Blunkett stated that Harry had ‘given his life to the improvement of life for others’, adding that he shall be remembered ‘as someone who was a fighter for fairness and justice’. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would be ‘sadly missed’ and that ‘to the very end he was fighting for working people’.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘Harry was a kind and dedicated man, and his career in public service and commitment to helping others well embodied the values and aims of the humanist movement. We will miss him, and our thoughts are with his family .’
Harry’s obituary in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/05/labour-mp-harry-harpham-dies-cancer-aged-61-sheffield
Harry’s obituary in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/harry-harpham-dead-sheffield-labour-mp-dies-aged-61-a6854651.html