‘World’s oldest rebel’ dies aged 95

PUBLISHED: 09:35 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 28 November 2018

Harry Leslie Smith at Labour party conference. Photograph: PA.

Harry Leslie Smith at Labour party conference. Photograph: PA.

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Veteran anti-austerity and anti-Brexit activist Harry Leslie Smith has died aged 95.

Smith, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, appeared at the Labour Party conference in 2014 to speak about life before the NHS.

He fought in World War II and lived through the Great Depression, and called himself the “world’s oldest rebel”.

Writing for The New European last year, Smith said that his generation’s hard fought lessons were being forgotten through Brexit.

He said: “For me the tragedy of Brexit is that it was the blood, sweat and tears of my generation that helped forge a more perfect union between Britain and Europe. Now that appears lost and our country feels shorn of hope because hollow words of rich Tory politicians will never replace the benefits in trade, culture, workers rights, and security we derived from being a member of the EU.”

A post on his Twitter account, which has more than 250,000 followers, announced his death on Wednesday morning.

The tweet said: “At 3:39 this morning, my dad Harry Leslie Smith died. I am an orphan. #istandwithharry”.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of Harry Leslie Smith. He was one of a kind who never wavered in his fight for equality and justice. We should all carry his passion, optimism and spirit forward.”

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