Veteran Labour politician Michael Meacher left a fortune of £5.2 million – but debts of more than £1 million, the probate office has revealed.
After his outstanding affairs were settled, he left £4,181,811 on trust for his wife Lucianne Meacher and the four children of his first marriage.
Meacher, 75, died on October 20 last year after a career in the House of Commons spanning 45 years, serving under six party leaders.
Born in Hemel Hempstead, he went to New College Oxford to study classics and divinity, and was elected MP for Oldham West in 1970. He became close to left winger Tony Benn, and was called Benn’s vicar on earth.
He was behind the right to roam, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and had served in many posts, including industry, health and social security, and trade.
He was a minister of state at Environment until he was sacked in 2003, and then often attacked the government where he had been a member. He had planned to stand against Gordon Brown for the leadership in 2007, but did not win enough nominations, and stood aside for John McDonnell.
He was an enthusiastic support of Jeremy Corbyn.
In 1990 he sued journalist Alan Watkins for libel for describing him as middle class in the Observer, while Meacher claimed his father was a tenant farmer. Meacher lost the case and had to pay costs of £130,000.
He also faced claims of political hypocrisy when it was evealed that he and his second wife Lucianne owned at least nine properties after their investments in buy-to-let property.
He is survived by his wife Lucianne, and two sons and two daughters from his first marriage to Molly, now Lady Meacher.
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