We've lost a good comrade today, the former Labour MP Denis Healey has passed away at the age of 98.
Healey was a Labour giant, a huge figure in the political arena era of post war in this country. He was the MP for Leeds for forty years from 1952 before joining the House of Lords in 1992. He was Labour's Defence Secretary from 1964 to 1970 and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979, applying for an emergency loan from the IMF in '76 in an attempt to save the pound from collapse. By 1980 he came very close to becoming the leader of the party, losing by just 10 votes to Michael Foot. He served the party in that decade as deputy leader, having beat Tony Benn to that position. During the war he was a hero of Anzio and memorably criticised Thatcher for 'glorying in slaughter' during the Falklands conflict. His trademark bushy eyebrows, love of the cut and thrust of Westminster, sharp tongue and eccentric tastes - he played a range of instruments including piano and double bass - made him a recognisable political figure who the country held in great affection whatever their allegiance.