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Paul Flynn's campaigning history

PAUL FLYNN was known for his dogged campaigning on issues from legalising cannabis to former PM Tony Blair’s accountability for the Iraq war.

In the era of New Labour, the leftwinger became a vocal critic of Mr Blair and his leadership of the party.

Mr Flynn consistently opposed Britain’s intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and backed calls for Mr Blair to be prosecuted following the release of the Chilcot report in 2008.

In the late 1990s he lent his support to efforts by fellow stalwart of the left Tony Benn to wrest powers away from the “increasingly presidential” Labour leadership.

Another longstanding issue of concern to Mr Flynn dating back to the early 1990s was the debate on the legalisation of cannabis, which he had advocated as a means of reducing harm.

An accomplished author and serial blogger, his books include the critique of Mr Blair’s premiership entitled Dragons Led by Poodles: Inside Story of a New Labour Stitch-Up, published in 1999.

He also wrote Commons Knowledge: How to Be a Backbencher, published in 1997, and 2012’s How to Be an MP, described by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “classic and required reading for civil servants.”

At 81 Mr Flynn became the oldest MP to serve on the front bench since 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone when Mr Corybn appointed him shadow leader of the house and shadow Wales secretary in 2016.

Mr Flynn called for more octogenarians to hold front-bench roles in the interests of diversity.

In October he announced his intention to stand down due to his ailing health, describing his time in Parliament as a “great, wonderful, rich experience.”

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