OUR reporter Dan Willis looks at the life of long-standing MP for Manchester Gorton Sir Gerald Kaufman, who has passed away aged 86.

Kaufman, who was also Father of the House of Commons had a long and storied history in the political arena was pronounced dead on Sunday evening after suffering with a long term illness.

Back in 1983, the Leeds-born politician became MP for Manchester Gorton, after holding the Manchester Ardwick seat since 1970 – due to border changes being made in constituencies across the UK his seat was relocated to Gorton.

Kaufman was known for his fierce opposition of the policies of the Israeli government, and its treatment of the Palestinians.

Current Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn led the tributes to the acclaimed politician describing him as “iconic and irascible” and a figure with ‘dandy clothes’ who loved life and politics.

Kaufman was regularly described as utterly devoted to his Manchester Gorton constituency, and was ranked as the most responsive politician across the UK last year.

Kaufman began his ascent into politics in his youth, when he graduated from Queens College, Oxford with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics – and whilst at Queens College was head of the University Labour Party, where he stopped a young Rupert Murdoch from standing for office, after he was found to be breaking the rules for canvassing.

After unsuccessfully running to win the Bromley seat in the 1955 General Election, he then went on to fight for the Gillingham seat – which he also lost, and Labour’s vote even fell.

But after a short stint at the Daily Mirror and The New Statesman, Kaufman soon became a Labour Party press officer – a post which he was described to be part of Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s ‘kitchen-cabinet’.

Labour may have gone on to lose the 1970 General Election, however Kaufman won the seat he was campaigning for and was elected MP for Manchester Ardwick. Kaufman would hold this seat all the way up to his death.

A long and storied politically career was rounded off in 2004, when Gerald Kaufman became Sir Gerald Kaufman – and was knighted for his services to politics.

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