Tony Benn, a committed British socialist who irritated, fascinated — and bored — Britons through a political career spanning more than five decades and who renounced his aristocratic title rather than leave the House of Commons, has died. He was 88.

His family said in a statement that Benn died peacefully at his home in west London on Friday. It did not give a cause for death.

Benn held Cabinet posts in Labour Party governments in the 1970s, and clung unswervingly to the old leftist faith while his party, in opposition, moved to the centre and re-emerged to take power again as New Labour.