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death of a member

Volume 605: debated on Friday 5 February 2016

It is with great sadness that I must report to the House the death of Harry Harpham, the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough. Harry entered the House at the last general election, following careers as a miner, a researcher for David Blunkett, now Lord Blunkett, and a representative of the National Union of Mineworkers at Clipstone colliery. Harry was also a councillor on Sheffield City Council for 15 years, holding important cabinet responsibilities in that time, and serving as deputy leader of the council. Harry was a diligent constituency Member of Parliament, who held the Executive to account on behalf of his constituents. Most recently, on Wednesday 20 January, he asked the Prime Minister what support the Government were providing to world-class companies such as Sheffield Forgemasters.

I must tell the House that Harry informed me a few weeks ago of his circumstances. Let it be recorded that he first fought bravely his illness, and then bore it with stoicism and fortitude, continuing to battle on behalf of his constituents to the very end. Harry will be sadly missed by us all, and our thoughts are with Harry’s wife, Gill, and the wider family at this very sad time.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As the House knows, I come from Sheffield, which is where I was born and brought up, so I associate myself—as, I am sure, does the whole House—with your remarks. I offer my condolences to the family of Harry Harpham and to all those who knew him. It is a tragedy that he spent so little time with us in this House, and that we have been robbed of his help and advice. We will all mourn his loss today.

On a further point of order, I beg to move, That the House sit in private.

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 163), and negatived.