'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.


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.”

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue


Here's our weekly pick of the upcoming Remain-focused campaign activities, talks and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy