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JEREMY CORBYN led tributes yesterday to the oldest serving MP Gerald Kaufman, who has died aged 86.
Mr Kaufman, who was Father of the House of Commons and served in Westminister for 47 years, died on Sunday after a long-term illness. His family announced his death “with great sadness.”
He was first elected in Manchester Ardwick in 1970 and then in Manchester Gorton following constituency boundary changes in 1983.
Mr Corbyn paid tribute to his “constant” friend and that he was “very sad at his passing.”
“An iconic figure in the Labour Party, Gerald worked with Harold Wilson when he was prime minister in the 1960s and became a Labour MP in 1970.
“Gerald came from a proud Jewish background. He always wanted to bring peace to the Middle East and it was my pleasure to travel with him to many countries.”
Mr Kaufman was a vocal critic of Israel and even faced accusations of being a “self-hating Jew” by a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews over his support for Palestinian people.
Two of his well-known Westminster speeches denounced the war in Gaza and the government for dragging its feet over allowing Syrian refugees into Britain.
He once said relating of his own background: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.
“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”
Mr Corbyn added: “He loved life and politics. I will deeply miss him, both for his political commitment and constant friendship.”
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