Labour stalwart Benn dies aged 88
London, March 15, 2014
Veteran British Labour politician Tony Benn, who was born into the aristocracy but became a champion of the left, has died aged 88, his family said yesterday.
Benn was a member of parliament for 50 years and a cabinet minister for 11 years.
A divisive figure at the peak of his career, in later years he became a public favourite as a straight talker, usually seen with his trademark pipe.
Born Anthony Wedgwood Benn, he forced a change in the law so that he could renounce an aristocratic title inherited from his father to continue serving as an elected member of parliament.
The longest-serving Labour MP in British history, he was an anti-war campaigner who opposed the monarchy and often clashed with his own party leadership but in recent years topped several opinion polls as Britain's most popular politician.
Benn died peacefully early yesterday at his home in west London surrounded by his family after being seriously ill.
Tributes from politicians of all sides were quick to flow for Benn, whose father and grandfather were politicians and whose son Hilary was a cabinet minister in the last Labour government. Benn's granddaughter Emily is also pursuing a political career.
He was also a prolific writer and published eight diaries.
Benn's death follows that of another prominent British left-winger, trade union leader Bob Crow, earlier this week.-Reuters