MP’s tributes to ‘inspirational’ Walter Harrison

Walter Harrison given Freedom or the City April 2003
Walter Harrison given Freedom or the City April 2003

CITY MP Mary Creagh has paid tribute to the “inspirational” former MP Walter Harrison, whose funeral will be held on Friday.

Mr Harrison, of Sandal, was an MP for Wakefield from 1964 up until his retirement in 1987, and was also the Labour Government’s deputy chief whip from 1974 to 1979.

Ms Creagh said: “Walter was a good friend to me and I know that tributes to his life will be pouring in this week.

“He was a revered constituency MP, legendary deputy chief whip, and a wonderful man. He was a principled and passionate MP who loved Wakefield and he was a champion for local people. He was a great servant of the Labour Party who firmly believed in the power of politics to do good.”

Ms Creagh also paid tribute to Mr Harrison’s sense of humour and said he loved sharing his stories.

She recalled one where Walter jammed his foot in the door of the House of Commons’ lobby and managed to register a half-vote after arguing that he was half in the lobby.

She said: “The sergeant tried to shut the door but he registered a half-vote, the only one ever recorded that I’m aware of. It was an absolute measure of the man.

“He was a hero to many, many people in Wakefield’s Labour Party. For a whole generation of councillors Walter was their figurehead and their inspiration. He’s a great loss to the Party.

“My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Mr Harrison died on Friday, October 19, aged 91.

His funeral will take place on Friday, November 2 at St Helen’s Church, in Sandal, at 1.30pm.

Cremation will follow at Wakefield Crematorium at 2.40pm.