Sheffield MP pays tribute to "political soulmate and best friend" Howard Knight who died following cancer battle

A Sheffield MP has paid tribute to his "political soulmate and best friend" who died following a cancer battle.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 10:07 am

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts was lifelong friends with Howard Knight, a councillor in the 1980s and 90s. He also worked with the national Labour Party and travelled the world helping to set up democracies.

Mr Knight, aged 69, had been suffering from cancer. A service will be held at Grenoside Crematorium, North Chapel on Thursday, March 19 at 3pm and will be webcast so any family and friends who are self-isolating can view it.

Mr Betts said: "Howard was not merely someone with a great ability to innovate and develop policy, he was also someone with a great commitment to values and principles.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts was lifelong friends with Howard Knight, a councillor in the 1980s and 90s

"He believed in social justice, in helping the most disadvantaged and making sure people got a fair deal.

"His efforts at achieving justice and equity did not merely apply to his council work. He had a great commitment to Burngreave, the area where he lived for most of his life, and he also had worldwide commitments and interests too.

"Howard's approach was selfless. Everything was done to achieve improvement for others and not for himself.

"One weekend he would be taking notes and match reports on the touchline for Earl Marshall Junior's football team and the next weekend, he would be out in Kosovo or Somaliland, helping new democracies get established.

"One weekend, he would be driving elderly people to a lunch club, the next he would be out monitoring elections in Uzbekistan or Georgia or Ukraine."

Mr Betts said Mr Knight's range of achievements was enormous, including developing the financial framework to build the Sheffield Arena and Ponds Forge and save the Lyceum Theatre as part of the facilities for the World Student Games Park.

He added: "Many people may not have known even half of what Howard did. I hope in these words, I've managed to explain a life so fully lived, considerable achievements made, and principles kept and adhered to. In the end for me he was not merely a political soulmate but my best friend."