Responding to the sad news of Tony Benn’s death, Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: "Every socialist, active trade unionist and progressive campaigner of the last 60 years or more will be bereft this morning, since their lives will have been entwined with Tony Benn’s.

“Tony was a hero to me and to millions more not only because of what he advocated – social justice, democracy and peace – but because of the way he advocated it, with passion, decency and without malice against anyone.

“Tony fought for his ideals almost to the last breath of his life. He was a life-long member of Unite and the T&G before it ... his life is a rebuke to all those who are cynical about politics and politicians, and I hope that all today’s political leaders will pause for a moment to reflect on why Tony Benn was held in such high esteem by so many from all walks of life.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.