Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a GOP rebel and critic of the war in Iraq, died last night on his birthday at the age of 76.

BBC

Republican congressman Walter B Jones, known for changing the name of French fries in government cafeterias to “freedom fries”, has died.

Mr Jones was a keen supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and pushed for the name change in protest against France’s opposition to the war.

But he later had a complete change of heart, becoming one of the most vocal critics of the war in his party.

His office confirmed that he died on 10 February, his 76th birthday.

Mr Jones represented his district for 34 years, first in the North Carolina state legislature, then in Congress.

Walter B. Jones

GETTY IMAGES Walter B. Jones deeply regretted his support of the Iraq war

At the time of his death, he was being cared for in a hospice in Greenville, North Carolina, having broken his hip last month. His office said that his health declined after his fall on 14 January.

Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity,” a statement from his office said.

“He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognised that he did what he thought was right.”

‘Freedom fries’

Like most Republicans – and a number of Democrats – Mr Jones backed President George W Bush’s resolution to use military force in Iraq to oust its leader Saddam Hussein.

Mr Bush justified the invasion by claiming that Saddam Hussein had developed and hidden weapons of mass destruction.

France, which threatened to veto the UN’s resolution authorising US-led military action, was the most vocal in its opposition to the war.

In response, Mr Jones and his fellow Republican Robert W Ney pushed for cafeterias in the House of Representatives to rename their French fries and French toast “freedom fries” and “freedom toast”.

Freedom fries

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