Wednesday, September 19The Voice of London

Is Tony Benn “Spinning In His Grave” Over Hillary Benn’s Speech?

As the UK begins to carry out airstrikes in Syria, it was not just the Labour Party that was split, but family members too. Hillary Benn’s speech will go down in history, but how do his views differ to his father’s?
Words: Daisy Greenaway, Subeditor: Corey Armishaw

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The late Tony Benn delivers a speech against bombing Iraq, 1998.

Yesterday’s speech by Hillary Benn will arguably go down in history after he received applause from both benches regarding his emphatic appeal on why the UK needed to get involved in Syria. However it is not just the speech alone that caused a stir, but rather how his views differ to that of his late father Tony Benn – who strongly opposed the war in Iraq.

Four generations of the Benn family have sat in Parliament, always on behalf of Liberals or Labour, but it was Tony Benn’s strong socialist views that won the family fame. The term “Bennite” came into use as opposed to “Blairite” when referring to those with radical left-wing views. Benn was also described as “one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office”. He went on to become President of the Stop the War Coalition from 2001 until his death in 2014.

Stop the War Coalition, of which Jeremy Corbyn was chair for four years until elected as Labour Leader in September, had strongly opposed the bombings in Syria and organised a number of protests.

It seems sides are split on whether Tony Benn would be proud of his son’s speech in commons or not. However it’s hard to disagree, his speech was moving regardless of if you agreed, or not.

You can see both of the speeches below, and if you look closely you’ll see a familiar face beside both men.