Political rivals united in tribute to NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, with Boris Johnson describing him as a “hero in the truest sense of the word”.
The veteran, who died aged 100 after contracting Covid-19, had become a “beacon of hope for the world” during the pandemic, the Prime Minister said.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Sir Tom “put others first at a time of national crisis” and “Britain has lost a hero”.
The flag above 10 Downing Street flew at half-mast in tribute to Sir Tom and the Prime Minister spoke to the veteran’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore to offer his condolences.
This is incredibly sad news.
Captain Tom Moore put others first at a time of national crisis and was a beacon of hope for millions.
Britain has lost a hero.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) February 2, 2021
Mr Johnson said: “Captain Sir Tom Moore was a hero in the truest sense of the word.
“In the dark days of the Second World War, he fought for freedom and in the face of this country’s deepest post-war crisis, he united us all, he cheered us all up, and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit.
“It is quite astonishing that at the age of 100 he raised more than £32 million for the NHS, and so gave countless others their own chance to thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us through the pandemic.
“He became not just a national inspiration but a beacon of hope for the world. Our thoughts are with his daughter Hannah and all his family.”
We're sad to learn of the tragic death of Capt Sir Tom Moore. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has paid tribute to an inspirational veteran and a national treasure.@BWallaceMP | @captaintommoore pic.twitter.com/KgOajp8TJP
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) February 2, 2021
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In national emergencies ordinary people do extraordinary things and inspire us all to pull together to overcome adversity.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sir Tom “showed the best of our country”.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said Sir Tom “was a shining light of hope for people in our country and around the world during the darkest days of the pandemic”.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “such sad news”.
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “A light has gone out in the world tonight with news of the death of our very own national treasure – Captain Sir Tom Moore.”
Normal business in the Commons chamber was momentarily interrupted as MPs marked Sir Tom’s death.
Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said he “brought joy to the nation”.
Labour shadow transport minister Mike Kane added: “Some people are born great, some people achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them, and I think Sir Tom probably was all three of those things.
“An inspiration to the whole nation at a time of crisis, a real candle in the gloom for the British people.”