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Tony Benn Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn (Tony Benn), PC (born 3 April 1925), formerly 2nd Viscount Stansgate, is a British Labour Party politician, who was a Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years, and a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. SONY VGN-FE31M Laptop Keyboard His campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963.[2] In the Labour Government of 1964–1970 he served first as Postmaster General, where he oversaw the opening of the Post Office Tower, and later as a notably "technocratic" Minister of Technology. In the period when the Labour Party was in Opposition,  HP Pavilion dv6-2113sa Laptop Keyboard for a year he was the Chairman of the Labour Party. In the Labour Government of 1974–1979 he returned to the Cabinet, initially as Secretary of State for Industry, before being made Secretary of State for Energy, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard retaining his post when James Callaghan replaced Wilson as Prime Minister. During the Labour Party's time in Opposition during the 1980s, he was seen as the party's prominent figure on the left, and the term "Bennite" has come to be used in Britain for someone of a more radical left-wing position.[3]DELL Inspiron 1564 Laptop Keyboard Benn has topped several polls as the most popular politician in Britain.[4] He has been described as "one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office."[5] Since leaving Parliament, Benn has become involved in the grass-roots politics of demonstrations and meetings, and has been the President of the Stop the War Coalition for the last decade. He has been a vegetarian since the 1970s. SONY VAIO VGN-CR160F Laptop Keyboard

Early life and family

Benn was born in London on 3 April 1925.[6] Benn's paternal grandfather was John Benn, a successful politician who was created a baronet in 1914, and his father William Wedgwood Benn was a Liberal Member of Parliament who later crossed the floor to the Labour Party. He was appointed Secretary of State for India by Ramsay MacDonald in 1929, a position he held until 1931. SONY VAIO VGN-CR31S Laptop Keyboard He was elevated to the House of Lords with the title of Viscount Stansgate in 1941; the new wartime coalition government was short of working Labour peers in the upper house.[7] From 1945 to 1946, he was the Secretary of State for Air in the first majority Labour Government. ASUS F8Sp Laptop Keyboard Both his grandfathers, John Benn (who founded a publishing company)[8] and Daniel Holmes, were also Liberal MPs (respectively, for Tower Hamlets, Devonport and Glasgow Govan).[9] Benn's contact with leading politicians of the day dates back to his earliest years; he met Ramsay MacDonald when he was five,[10] David Lloyd George when he was 12 and Mahatma Gandhi in 1931, while his father was Secretary of State for India. ACER Aspire 5536 Laptop Keyboard Benn's mother, Margaret Eadie (née Holmes) (1897–1991), was a dedicated theologian, feminist and the founder President of the Congregational Federation. She was a member of the League of the Church Militant, which was the predecessor of the Movement for the Ordination of Women – in 1925 she was rebuked by Randall Thomas Davidson, HP Probook 4515S Laptop Keyboard the Archbishop of Canterbury, for advocating the ordination of women. His mother's theology had a profound influence on Benn, as she taught him that the stories in the Bible were based around the struggle between the prophets and the kings and that he ought in his life to support the prophets over the kings, who had power, as the prophets taught righteousness.[11]SAMSUNG R470 Laptop Keyboard Benn went to Westminster School and studied at New College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics and was elected President of the Oxford Union in 1947. In later life, Benn attempted to remove public references to his private education from Who's Who; in the 1975 edition his entry stated "Education—still in progress".HP G62-b25SA Laptop Keyboard In the 1976 edition, almost all details were omitted save for his name, jobs as a Member of Parliament and as a Government Minister, and address; the publishers confirmed that Benn had sent back the draft entry with everything else struck through.[12] In the 1977 edition, Benn's entry disappeared entirely.[13] In October 1973 he announced on BBC Radio that he wished to be known as Mr Tony Benn rather than as Anthony Wedgwood Benn, and his book Speeches from 1974 is credited to "Tony Benn".HP G42-359TU Laptop Keyboard In July 1943, Benn joined the Royal Air Force.[14] His father and brother Michael (who was later killed in an accident) were already serving in the RAF. Whilst holding the rank of pilot officer, Benn served as a pilot in South Africa and Rhodesia.[15]TOSHIBA NSK-TBD01 Laptop Keyboard Benn met Caroline Middleton DeCamp (born 13 October 1926, Cincinnati, Ohio) over tea at Worcester College in 1949 and nine days later he proposed to her on a park bench in the city. Later, he bought the bench from Oxford City Council and installed it in the garden of their home in Holland Park. Tony and Caroline had four children — Stephen, HP Pavilion DV6-1022el Laptop Keyboard Hilary, Melissa and Joshua, and ten grandchildren. Caroline Benn died of cancer on 22 November 2000, aged 74, after a prominent career as an educationalist.[16]Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard Benn's children have been active in politics; his first son Stephen was an elected Member of the Inner London Education Authority from 1986 to 1990. His second son Hilary was a councillor in London, and stood for Parliament in 1983 and 1987, becoming the Labour MP for Leeds Central in 1999. He was Secretary of State for International Development from 2003 to 2007, HP Pavilion dm3-1020CA Laptop Keyboard and then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until 2010. This makes him the third generation of his family to have been a member of the Cabinet, a rare distinction for a modern political family in Britain. Benn's granddaughter Emily Benn failed to win East Worthing and Shoreham in 2010,[17] becoming the Labour Party's youngest-ever candidate in the process.[18] Benn is a first cousin once removed of the late actress Dame Margaret Rutherford.[19]ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard Following the Second World War Benn worked briefly as a BBC Radio producer. On 1 November 1950, he was unexpectedly selected to succeed Sir Stafford Cripps as the Labour candidate for Bristol South East, after Cripps stood down because of ill-health. He won the seat in a by-election on 30 November 1950.[20] HP Pavilion DV7-3065dx Laptop Keyboard Anthony Crosland helped him get the seat as he was the MP for nearby South Gloucestershire at the time. Upon taking the oath on 4 December 1950[21] Benn became the youngest MP, or "Baby of the House" for one day, being succeeded by Thomas Teevan, who was two years younger but took his oath a day later.[22] FUJITSU Amilo Mini Ui 3520 Laptop Keyboard He became the "Baby" again in 1951, when Teevan was not re-elected. In the 1950s, Benn held middle-of-the-road or soft left views, and was not associated with the young left wing group around Aneurin Bevan.[23] SONY VAIO VGN-AR170 Laptop Keyboard

Peerage reform

Benn's father had been created Viscount Stansgate in 1942 when Winston Churchill increased the number of Labour peers to aid political work in the House of Lords; at this time, Benn's elder brother Michael was intending to enter the priesthood and had no objections to inheriting a peerage. However, Michael was later killed in an accident while on active service in the Second World War, and this left Benn as the heir to the peerage. He made several attempts to renounce the succession, but they were unsuccessful.[23]HP pavilion DV7-1000 Laptop Keyboard In November 1960 Viscount Stansgate died and Benn automatically became a peer and was thus prevented from sitting in the House of Commons. Insisting on his right to abandon his peerage, Benn fought to retain his seat in a by-election caused by his succession on 4 May 1961. Although he was disqualified from taking his seat, he was re-elected. An election court found that the voters were fully aware that Benn was disqualified, and declared the seat won by the Conservative runner-up, Malcolm St Clair, who was at the time also the heir presumptive to a peerage.[2]Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard Benn continued his campaign outside Parliament, and eventually the Conservative Government of the time accepted the need for a change in the law.[24] The Peerage Act 1963, allowing renunciation of peerages, became law shortly after 6 pm on 31 July 1963. Benn was the first peer to renounce his title, at 6.22 pm that day. St Clair, fulfilling a promise he had made at the time of his election, then accepted the office of Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead, disqualifying himself from the House (outright resignation not being possible). Benn returned to the Commons after winning a by-election on 20 August 1963.[23]SONY NSK-S8101 Laptop Keyboard In the 1964 Government of Harold Wilson, Benn was Postmaster General, where he oversaw the opening of the Post Office Tower, then the UK's tallest building, and the creations of the Post Bus service and Girobank. He proposed issuing stamps without the Sovereign's head, but this met with private opposition from the Queen. Instead, the portrait was reduced to a small profile in silhouette, ASUS X53S Laptop Keyboard a format that is still used on commemorative stamps.[25] Benn also led the government's campaign to close down the many off-shore pirate radio stations of the time, a campaign that formed the centrepiece of the 2009 film The Boat That Rocked, and he was responsible for introducing the Marine Broadcasting Offences Bill.[26] By the time the bill became law in 1967,  ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard Benn had been promoted to Minister of Technology, which included responsibility for the development of Concorde and the formation of International Computers Ltd. The period also saw government involvement in industrial rationalisation, and the merger of several car companies to form British Leyland. [27] HP Pavilion DV6-1007tx Laptop Keyboard Labour lost the 1970 election to Edward Heath's Conservatives, and upon Heath's application to join the European Economic Community, Benn campaigned in favour of a referendum on the UK's membership. The Shadow Cabinet voted to support a referendum on 29 March 1972, and as a result Roy Jenkins resigned as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. HP pavilion DV7-1000 Laptop Keyboard In government (1974–1979) In the Labour Government of 1974 Benn was Secretary of State for Industry, where he set up worker cooperatives in struggling industries, the best known being at Meriden, which kept Triumph Motorcycles in production until 1983. In 1975 he was appointed Secretary of State for Energy, immediately following his unsuccessful campaign for a "No" vote in the referendum on the UK's membership of the EEC.  TOSHIBA PK130260100 Laptop Keyboard In his diary (25 October 1977) Benn wrote that he "loathed" the EEC; he claimed it was "bureaucratic and centralised" and "of course it is really dominated by Germany. All the Common Market countries except the UK have been occupied by Germany, and they have this mixed feeling of hatred and subservience towards the Germans".[28]ACER Aspire 5336 Laptop Keyboard Harold Wilson resigned as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister in March 1976. Benn entered the subsequent leadership contest and came fourth, with 37 votes, in the first ballot. Benn withdrew from the second ballot and supported Michael Foot, which James Callaghan eventually won. Despite not receiving his support in the vote, HP G61-110SA Laptop Keyboard Callaghan kept Benn as Energy Secretary. In autumn 1976 there was a sterling crisis, and Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey sought a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Benn publicly circulated the Cabinet minutes from the 1931 National Labour Government of Ramsay MacDonald, HP Pavilion dv6-2114sa Laptop Keyboard which cut unemployment benefits in order to secure a loan from American bankers and resulted in the splitting of the Labour Party. Callaghan allowed Benn to put forward his "alternative economic strategy", which consisted of a siege economy, but this was rejected by the Cabinet.[29]Dell Latitude D400 Laptop Keyboard As a minister, I experienced the power of industrialists and bankers to get their way by use of the crudest form of economic pressure, even blackmail, against a Labour Government. Compared to this, the pressure brought to bear in industrial disputes is minuscule. This power was revealed even more clearly in 1976 when the IMF secured cuts in our public expenditure. SAMSUNG R522 Laptop Keyboard These lessons led me to the conclusion that the UK is only superficially governed by MPs and the voters who elect them. Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence intact. TOSHIBA NB100-11B Laptop Keyboard If the British people were ever to ask themselves what power they truly enjoyed under our political system they would be amazed to discover how little it is, and some new Chartist agitation might be born and might quickly gather momentum.[30]IBM Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Laptop Keyboard Benn's philosophy consisted of a form of syndicalism, economic planning, greater democracy in the structures of the Labour Party and observance of Party conference decisions by the Party leadership;[31] he was vilified in the right-wing press, and his enemies implied that a Benn-led Labour Government would implement a type of Eastern European socialism.[32] HP Pavilion dv6-2108ea Laptop Keyboard Benn was overwhelmingly popular with Labour activists: a survey of delegates at the Labour Party Conference in 1978 found that by large margins they supported Benn for the leadership and many Bennite policies.[33]SONY Vaio PCG-K215S Laptop Keyboard He publicly supported Sinn Féin and the unification of Ireland, although in 2005 he suggested to Sinn Féin leaders that it abandon its long-standing policy of not taking seats at Westminster. Sinn Féin argue that to do so would recognise Britain's claim over Northern Ireland, and the Sinn Féin constitution prevented its elected members from taking their seats in any British-created institution.[34] ACER Aspire 7520 Laptop Keyboard In a keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference of 1980, shortly before the resignation of party leader James Callaghan and election of Michael Foot as successor, Benn outlined what he envisaged the next Labour Government would do. "Within days", a Labour Government would gain powers to nationalise industries, control capital and implement industrial democracy; COMPAQ Presario C700 Laptop Keyboard "within weeks", all powers from Brussels would be returned to Westminster, and abolish the House of Lords by creating one thousand peers and then abolishing the peerage. Benn received tumultuous applause.[35] ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard In 1981, he stood against incumbent Denis Healey for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, disregarding the appeal from Michael Foot to either stand for the leadership or abstain from inflaming the party's divisions. Benn defended his decision with insistence that it was "not about personalities, but about policies." The contest was extremely closely fought, and Healey won by a margin of barely 1%. The decision of several moderate left-wing MPs, including Neil Kinnock, to abstain triggered the split of the Campaign Group from the Left of the Tribune Group.[36] IBM Thinkpad T61P Laptop Keyboard SONY Vaio PCG-K215S Laptop Keyboard After Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982, Benn argued that the dispute should be settled by the United Nations and that the British Government should not send a task force to recapture the islands. The task force was sent and the Falklands were soon back in British control. In a subsequent debate in the Commons, HP 597635-001 Laptop Keyboard Benn's demand for "a full analysis of the costs in life, equipment and money in this tragic and unnecessary war" was rejected by Margaret Thatcher, who, apparently unaware of Benn's service in World War Two and the loss of his brother, stated that "he would not enjoy the freedom of speech that he put to such excellent use unless people had been prepared to fight for it".[37]DELL NSK-D8001 Laptop Keyboard For the 1983 Benn's Bristol South East constituency was abolished by boundary changes, and he lost to Michael Cocks the battle to stand in the new seat of Bristol South. Rejecting offers from the new seat of Livingston in Scotland, Benn contested Bristol East, losing to Conservative candidate Jonathan Sayeed in what was perceived to be a shock result. HP pavilion DV7-1000 Laptop Keyboard He was selected for the next Labour seat to fall vacant, and was elected for Chesterfield in a by-election after Eric Varley resigned to head Coalite. On the day of the by-election, 1 March 1984, The Sun newspaper ran a hostile feature article "Benn on the Couch", which purported to be the opinions of an American psychiatrist.[38] In the period since Benn's defeat in Bristol, Michael Foot had stepped down after the general election in June 1983 (which saw Labour return a mere 209 MPs) and was succeeded in October of that year by Neil Kinnock.[39]ACER Aspire One D150-1920 Laptop Keyboard Benn was a prominent supporter of the 1984–1985 UK miners' strike and of his long-standing friend, the National Union of Mineworkers leader Arthur Scargill. However, some miners considered Benn's 1977 industry reforms to have caused problems during the strike; HP 597635-001 Laptop Keyboard firstly, that they led to huge wage differences and distrust between miners of different regions; and secondly that the controversy over balloting miners for these reforms made it unclear as to whether a ballot was needed for a strike or whether it could be deemed as a "regional matter" in the same way that the 1977 reforms had been.[40][41]HP 550 Laptop Keyboard In June 1985, three months after the miners admitted defeat and ended their strike, Benn introduced the Miners' Amnesty (General Pardon) Bill into the Commons, which would have extended an amnesty to all miners imprisoned during the strike. This would have included two men convicted of murder (later reduced to manslaughter) for the killing of David Wilkie, a taxi driver driving a non-striking miner to work in South Wales during the strike.[42]FUJITSU CP253873-XX Laptop Keyboard Benn stood for election as Party Leader in 1988, against Neil Kinnock, following Labour's third successive defeat in the 1987 general election, and lost by a substantial margin.[43] During the Gulf War, he visited Baghdad to persuade Saddam Hussein to release the hostages who had been captured.[44] He was one of the very few MPs to oppose the Kosovo War. IBM Lenovo Thinkpad X201 Laptop Keyboard In 1991, with Labour still in opposition and a general election due by June 1992, he proposed the Commonwealth of Britain Bill, abolishing the Monarchy in favour of the United Kingdom becoming a "democratic, federal and secular commonwealth", a republic with a written constitution. It was read in Parliament a number of times until his retirement at the 2001 election, but never achieved a second reading.[45] He presented an account of his proposal in Common Sense: A New Constitution for Britain.[46] HP Pavilion dv4t-1300 CTO Laptop Keyboard Benn did not stand at the 2001 general election; as he explained it, he was "leaving parliament in order to spend more time on politics".[47] Along with Edward Heath, Benn was given the privilege of being able to continue using the House of Commons Library and Members' refreshment facilities by the Speaker. Shortly after his retirement, he was approached by the Stop the War Coalition, TOSHIBA NB200 Laptop Keyboard and was asked to become its President, an offer he accepted.[44] He thus became a leading figure of the British opposition to the War on Iraq, and in February 2003 he travelled to Baghdad to meet Saddam Hussein. The interview was shown on British television.[48] He spoke against the war at the February 2003 protest in London organised by the Stop the War Coalition, attended by over 1 million people.[49] In February 2004 and 2008, he was re-elected President of the Stop the War Coalition.[50]HP 605344-001 Laptop Keyboard He has toured with a one-man stage show and appears a few times each year in a two-man show with folk singer Roy Bailey. In 2003, his show with Bailey was voted 'Best Live Act' at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.[51] In 2002 he opened the "Left Field" stage at the Glastonbury Festival. In October 2003, he was a guest of British Airways on the last scheduled Concorde flight from New York to London.[52] HP 646568-001 Laptop Keyboard In June 2005, Benn was a panellist on a special edition of BBC1's Question Time edited entirely by a school-age film crew selected by a BBC competition.[53] On 21 June 2005, Benn presented a programme on democracy as part of the Channel 5 series Big Ideas That Changed The World. He presented a left-wing view of democracy as the means to pass power from the "wallet to the ballot". SONY VAIO VGN-FS215B Laptop Keyboard He argued that traditional social democratic values were under threat in an increasingly globalised world in which powerful institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Commission are unelected and unaccountable to those whose lives they affect daily.[54]TOSHIBA Satellite C655-S9531D Laptop Keyboard On 27 September 2005, Benn was taken ill at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton and taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital after being treated by paramedics at the Brighton Centre. Benn reportedly fell and struck his head. He was kept in hospital for observation, and was described as being in a "comfortable condition".[55] HP Pavilion DV6-1210sa Laptop Keyboard He was subsequently fitted with an artificial pacemaker to help regulate his heartbeat.[56] In a list compiled by the magazine New Statesman in 2006, he was voted twelfth in the list of "Heroes of our Time".[57]TOSHIBA NB200-00C Laptop Keyboard In September 2006, Benn joined the "Time to Go" demonstration in Manchester the day before the start of the final Labour Party Conference with Tony Blair as Party Leader, with the aim of persuading the Labour Government to withdraw troops from Iraq, to refrain from attacking Iran and to reject replacing the Trident missile and submarines with a new system. DELL Inspiron 9300 Laptop Keyboard He spoke to the demonstrators in the rally afterwards along with other politicians and journalists, including George Galloway and members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[58] In 2007, he appeared in an extended segment in the Michael Moore film Sicko giving comments about democracy, social responsibility, and health care.  APPLE A1278 Laptop Keyboard A poll by the BBC2 The Daily Politics programme in January 2007 selected Benn as the UK's "Political Hero" with 38% of the vote, beating Margaret Thatcher with 35% and five other contenders: Alex Salmond, Leader of the Scottish National Party; Clare Short, Independent MP; Neil Kinnock, previous Labour Party Leader; Norman Tebbit, previous Conservative Party Chairman; and Shirley Williams, one of the 'gang of four' who founded the Social Democratic Party.[4]HP Mini 210-2030ez Laptop Keyboard In the 2007 Labour Party leadership election, Benn backed the left-wing MP John McDonnell in his unsuccessful bid. In September 2007, Benn called for the government to hold a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.[59]HP Pavilion dv6-3125sa Laptop Keyboard In October 2007, at the age of 82, and when it appeared that a general election was about to be held, Benn reportedly announced that he wanted to stand, having written to his local Kensington and Chelsea Constituency Labour Party offering himself as a prospective candidate for the seat held by the Conservative Malcolm Rifkind.[60][61] However, there was no election in 2007, and the Kensington and Chelsea seat was abolished. HP Pavilion dv5-1126ee Laptop Keyboard In September 2008, Benn appeared on the DVD release for the Doctor Who story The War Machines with a vignette discussing the Post Office Tower; he became the second Labour politician, after Roy Hattersley to appear in a Doctor Who DVD.[62] Also in 2008, Benn appeared on track 12 "Pay Attention to the Human" on Colin MacIntyre's The Water album.[63]HP 640208-001 Laptop Keyboard At the Stop the War Conference 2009, he described the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as "Imperialist war(s)" and discussed the killing of American and allied troops by Iraqi or foreign insurgents, questioning whether they were in fact freedom fighters, and comparing the insurgents to a British Dad's Army, saying "If you are invaded you have a right to self defence, HP Pavilion zd7040ea Laptop Keyboard nd this idea that people in Iraq and Afghanistan who are resisting the invasion are militant Muslim extremists is a complete bloody lie. I joined Dad's Army when I was sixteen, and if the Germans had arrived, I tell you, I could use a bayonet, a rifle, a revolver, and if I'd seen a German officer having a meal I'd have tossed a grenade through the window. Would I have been a freedom fighter or a terrorist?"[64] ACER Aspire 5552 Laptop Keyboard In an interview published in Dartford Living in September 2009, Benn was critical of the Government's decision to delay the findings of the Iraq War Inquiry until after the General Election, stating that "people can take into account what the inquiry has reported on but they’ve deliberately pushed it beyond the election. Government is responsible for explaining what it has done and I don’t think we were told the truth."[65] SONY VGN-FE11H Laptop Keyboard He also stated that local government was strangled by Margaret Thatcher and hadn't been liberalised by New Labour.[65] In autumn 2009 Benn was admitted to hospital, and "An Evening with Tony Benn" scheduled to take place at London's Cadogan Hall was cancelled.[66] He resumed a tour of these shows in 2010. He performed his show "The Writing on the Wall" with Roy Bailey at St Mary's Church, Ashford, Kent in September 2011 as part of the arts venue's first Revelation St Mary's Season. [67] ASUS A6M Laptop Keyboard In July 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Glamorgan, Wales.[68] In November 2011 it was reported that Benn had moved out of his home in Holland Park Avenue, London, into a smaller £750,000 flat nearby which benefits from a warden.[69]HP G61 Laptop Keyboard Diaries and biographies Benn is a prolific diarist: eight volumes of his diaries have been published (the first six collected as ISBN 0-09-963411-2, the penultimate available as ISBN 0-09-941502-X). He stopped writing them following his stroke and in April 2012 was working on the final volume due for publication in September 2012. Collections of his speeches and writings were published as Arguments for Socialism (1979),  HP Probook 4710S Laptop Keyboard Arguments for Democracy (1981), (both edited by Chris Mullin), Fighting Back (1988) and (with Andrew Hood) Common Sense (1993), as well as Free Radical: New Century Essays (2004). In August 2003, London DJ Charles Bailey created an album of Benn's speeches (ISBN 1-904734-03-0) set to ambient groove. HP G42-364LA Laptop Keyboard He has made public several episodes of audio diaries he made during his time in Parliament and after retirement, entitled 'The Benn Tapes', broadcast originally on BBC Radio 4. Short series have been played periodically on BBC Radio 7.[70] A major biography was written by Jad Adams and published by Macmillan in 1992;  ASUS F82Q Laptop Keyboard it was updated to cover the intervening 20 years and reissued by Biteback Publishing in 2011: Tony Benn: A Biography (ISBN 0-333-52558-2) A more recent 'semi-authorised' biography with a foreword by Benn was published in 2001: David Powell, Tony Benn: A Political Life, Continuum Books (ISBN 978-0826464156). An autobiography, Dare to be a Daniel: Then and Now, Hutchinson (ISBN 978-0099471530), was published in 2004. FUJITSU Lifebook E8310 Laptop Keyboard There are substantial essays on Benn in the Dictionary of Labour Biography by Phillip Whitehead, Greg Rosen [ed], Politicos Publishing, 2001 (ISBN 978-1902301181) and in Labour Forces: From Ernie Bevin to Gordon Brown, Kevin Jefferys [ed], I. B. Taurus Publishing, 2002 (ISBN 978-1860647437). Michael Moore dedicates his book Mike's Election Guide 2008 (ISBN 978-0141039817) to Benn with: "For Tony Benn, keep teaching us".[71]HP 550 Laptop Keyboard The Act resulted largely from the protests of one man, the Labour politician Tony Benn, then second Viscount Stansgate.[1] Under British law at the time, peers of the United Kingdom (meeting certain qualifications, such as age) were automatically members of the House of Lords and could not sit in, or vote in elections for, the other chamber, the House of Commons. SONY VAIO PCG-FR315M Laptop Keyboard When William Wedgwood Benn, Tony Benn's father, agreed to accept the Viscountcy, he ensured that the would-be heir, his eldest son Michael, did not plan to enter the House of Commons. However, within a few years of Benn's acceptance of the title Michael Benn was killed in action in World War II. Tony Benn, as his younger brother, became the heir to the peerage. IBM Lenovo Thinkpad X201 Laptop Keyboard The younger Benn was elected to the House of Commons in 1950, and did not intend to leave it for the other House, so he campaigned through the 1950s for a change in the law. SONY VAIO PCG-FR315M Laptop Keyboard In 1960, the first Viscount died and Tony Benn inherited the title, automatically losing his seat in the House of Commons for the constituency of Bristol South East. In the ensuing by-election, however, Benn was re-elected to the House despite being disqualified. A court ruled that he could not take his seat, instead giving it to the runner-up, HP Pavilion G6-1C58DX Laptop Keyboard the Conservative Malcolm St Clair. In 1963, the Conservative Government agreed to introduce the Peerage Bill allowing individuals to disclaim peerages. Tony Benn was the first peer to make use of the Act. St Clair, fulfilling a promise he had made at the time of his seating, then accepted the office of Steward of the Manor of Northstead, thereby disqualifying himself from the House (outright resignation is prohibited), and Benn was then re-elected at the ensuing by-election. FUJITSU Amilo Mini Ui 3520 Laptop Keyboard Disclaiming peerages To disclaim an hereditary peerage, the peer must deliver an instrument of disclaimer to the Lord Chancellor within twelve months of succeeding to the peerage, or, if under the age of twenty-one at the time of succession, before the peer's 22nd birthday. If, at the time of succession, the peer is a member of the House of Commons, then the instrument must be delivered within one month of succession, and until such an instrument is delivered, TOSHIBA Satellite P300 Laptop Keyboard the peer may neither sit nor vote in the lower House. Prior to the House of Lords Act 1999, an hereditary peer could not disclaim a peerage after having applied for a writ of summons to Parliament; now, however, hereditary peers do not have the automatic right to a writ of summons to the House. A peer who disclaims the peerage loses all titles, Compaq Presario CQ71-420ER Laptop Keyboard hts and privileges associated with the peerage; if he is a married man, so does his wife. No further hereditary peerages may be conferred upon the person, but life peerages may be. The peerage remains without a holder until the death of the peer who had made the disclaimer, when it descends to his or her heir in the usual manner.  HP Mini 210-2145dx Laptop Keyboard The Act also allowed instruments of disclaimer to be delivered within twelve months of its passing, thus allowing a peer who had inherited his or her title some years before to disclaim it; this was the means by which Tony Benn was able to disclaim his title. The existence of this provision soon proved to be of importance at the highest levels of British politics, SONY Vaio VGN-AW41MF/H Laptop Keyboard following the resignation of Harold Macmillan as Prime Minister in October 1963. Two hereditary peers wished to be considered to replace him, but by this time it was considered requisite that a Prime Minister sit in the Commons. Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham and Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of Home were able to take advantage of the Act to disclaim their titles, DELL Vostro 1014 Laptop Keyboard despite having inherited their titles in 1950 and 1951 respectively.[1] Douglas-Home was chosen as Prime Minister; both men later returned to the House of Lords as life peers. DELL Studio 1558 Laptop Keyboard Since the abolition of the general right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, and the consequent removal of the general disability of such peers to sit in or vote for the House of Commons, it is no longer necessary for hereditary peers to disclaim their peerages for this purpose. In 2001, John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso, became the first British hereditary peer to be elected to the Commons and take his seat. HP Pavilion dv6-3208tx Laptop Keyboard Later that year, Douglas Hogg inherited the peerage his father (Quintin Hogg) had disclaimed, but did not have to disclaim it himself to continue sitting in the House of Commons. In 2004, Michael Ancram became Marquess of Lothian on the death of his father, and was also able to continue sitting as an MP. On his retirement from the House of Commons, Ancram entered the House of Lords as a life peer. DELL Precision M65 Laptop Keyboard The Act only applies to titles held in the Peerage of England, the Peerage of Scotland, the Peerage of Great Britain, or the Peerage of the United Kingdom. No provision was made by the Act for titles in the Peerage of Ireland to be disclaimed, SAMSUNG R20 Laptop Keyboard as the entitlement of new Irish representative peers to be elected to sit in the House of Lords was considered to have lapsed after most of Ireland had become independent in 1922 (and the last surviving Irish representative peer had died in 1961). Instead, the Act extended to all Irish peers both the right to vote in parliamentary elections and the right to run for election to the House of Commons.  HP G42-381TX Laptop Keyboard The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. The House of Lords is independent from, and complements the work of, the House of Commons; the Lords share responsibility for making laws and checking government action.[2] Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and members of the Lords may also take on roles as Government Ministers. The House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library APPLE MacBook pro 13 inch Laptop Keyboard Unlike the elected House of Commons, most new members of the House of Lords are appointed.[3] Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England.[4] The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.[5]DELL Inspiron 1564 Laptop Keyboard Membership was once a right of birth to hereditary peers but, following a series of reforms, only 92 members (as of 1 July 2011 (2011 -07-01)[update]) sitting by virtue of a hereditary peerage remain.[6] The number of members is not fixed; as of 11 June 2012 (2012 -06-11)[update] the House of Lords has 775 members (not including 28 who are on leave of absence or are otherwise disqualified from sitting),[1] unlike the House of Commons, which has a 650-seat fixed membership.[1][7]DELL Inspiron 1564 Laptop Keyboard The role of the House of Lords is primarily to act as a body of specialist knowledge that scrutinises in greater detail bills that have been approved by the House of Commons.[8] It regularly reviews and amends bills from the Commons.[9] While the House of Lords is unable unilaterally to prevent bills passing into law (except in certain limited circumstances[ACER ZU2 Laptop Keyboard its members can severely delay bills that they believe to be misguided and thereby force the government, the Commons, and the general public to reconsider their decisions.[11] In this capacity, the Lords acts as constitutional safeguard that is independent from the electoral process and that can challenge the will of the people when the majority’s desires threaten key constitutional principles, Lenovo 3000 G530 4151 Laptop Keyboard human rights or rules of law.[12][13][14] In other countries this role would often be performed by a Constitutional or Supreme Court, but the UK system's emphasis on parliamentary sovereignty—rather than judicial review—means that this function cannot be properly accomplished by the British court system as all judicial rulings can be overruled by parliament.[15]SONY 147996611 Laptop Keyboard The Speech from the throne, often known as the Queen's Speech, is delivered from the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. The House also has a minor Church of England role in that through the Lords Spiritual Church Measures must be tabled within the House. DELL Vostro 1015 Laptop Keyboard Today's Parliament of the United Kingdom largely descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England, though the 1706 Treaty of Union and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty created a new Parliament of Great Britain to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. This new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs and 16 Peers to represent Scotland.  ASUS Z91E Laptop Keyboard The Parliament of England developed from the Magnum Concilium, the "Great Council" that advised the King during medieval times.[16] This royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics, noblemen, and representatives of the counties (afterwards, representatives of the boroughs as well). The first Parliament is often considered to be the "Model Parliament" (held in 1295), which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and representatives of the shires and boroughs. TOSHIBA Satellite L750-ST4N02 Laptop Keyboard The power of Parliament grew slowly, fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II (1307–1327), the nobility was supreme, the Crown weak, and the shire and borough representatives entirely powerless. In 1569, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not simply by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself. HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard Further developments occurred during the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III. Most importantly, it was during this King's reign that Parliament clearly separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons (consisting of the shire and borough representatives) and the House of Lords (consisting of the senior clergy and the nobility). ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard The authority of Parliament continued to grow, and, during the early fifteenth century, both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the aristocrats and prelates of the realm. HP 640436-001 Laptop Keyboard The power of the nobility suffered a decline during the civil wars of the late fifteenth century, known as the Wars of the Roses. Much of the nobility was killed on the battlefield or executed for participation in the war, and many aristocratic estates were lost to the Crown. Moreover, feudalism was dying, and the feudal armies controlled by the barons became obsolete. Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard Henry VII (1485–1509) clearly established the supremacy of the monarch, symbolised by the "Crown Imperial". The domination of the Sovereign continued to grow during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII (1509–1547). ASUS X53S Laptop Keyboard The House of Lords remained more powerful than the House of Commons, but the Lower House continued to grow in influence, reaching a zenith in relation to the House of Lords during the middle 17th century. Conflicts between the King and the Parliament (for the most part, the House of Commons) ultimately led to the English Civil War during the 1640s. HP Probook 4710S Laptop Keyboard In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth of England was declared, but the nation was effectively under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England.[17]HP 550 Laptop Keyboard The House of Lords was reduced to a largely powerless body, with Cromwell and his supporters in the Commons dominating the Government. On 19 March 1649, the House of Lords was abolished by an Act of Parliament, which declared that "The Commons of England [find] by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous to the people of England."[17]HP G62-456TU Laptop Keyboard The House of Lords did not assemble again until the Convention Parliament met in 1660 and the monarchy was restored. It returned to its former position as the more powerful chamber of Parliament—a position it would occupy until the 19th century. SONY VAIO VGN-NW250D/W Laptop Keyboard The 19th century was marked by several changes to the House of Lords. The House, once a body of only about 50 members, had been greatly enlarged by the liberality of George III and his successors in creating peerages. The individual influence of a Lord of Parliament was thus diminished. Moreover, the power of the House as a whole experienced a decrease, ACER Aspire 5560 Laptop Keyboard whilst that of the House of Commons grew. Particularly notable in the development of the Lower House's superiority was the Reform Bill of 1832. The electoral system of the House of Commons was not, at the time, democratic: property qualifications greatly restricted the size of the electorate, and the boundaries of many constituencies had not been changed for centuries. ACER Aspire 5739G Laptop Keyboard Entire cities such as Manchester were not represented by a single individual in the House of Commons, but the 11 voters of Old Sarum retained their ancient right to elect two Members of Parliament. A small borough was susceptible to bribery, and was often under the control of a patron, whose nominee was guaranteed to win an election. Some aristocrats were patrons of numerous "pocket boroughs", and therefore controlled a considerable part of the membership of the House of Commons. TOSHIBA Satellite L40-18Z Laptop Keyboard When the House of Commons passed a Reform Bill to correct some of these anomalies in 1831, the House of Lords rejected the proposal. The popular cause of reform, however, was not abandoned by the ministry, despite a second rejection of the bill in 1832. Prime Minister Earl Grey advised the King to overwhelm opposition to the bill in the House of Lords by creating about 80 new pro-Reform peers. William IV originally balked at the proposal, which effectively threatened the opposition of the House of Lords, but at length relented. SAMSUNG R522 Laptop Keyboard Before the new peers were created, however, the Lords who opposed the bill admitted defeat, and abstained from the vote, allowing the passage of the bill. The crisis damaged the political influence of the House of Lords, but did not altogether end it. Over the course of the century, however, the power of the Upper House experienced further erosion, and the Commons gradually became the stronger House of Parliament. HP Pavilion dv6-2153eo Laptop Keyboard The status of the House of Lords returned to the forefront of debate after the election of a Liberal Government in 1906. In 1909, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, introduced into the House of Commons the "People's Budget", which proposed a land tax targeting wealthy landowners. The popular measure, however, was defeated in the heavily Conservative House of Lords. DELL Inspiron N4050 Laptop Keyboard Having made the powers of the House of Lords a primary campaign issue, the Liberals were narrowly re-elected in January 1910. Asquith then proposed that the powers of the House of Lords be severely curtailed. After a general election in December 1910, the Asquith Government secured the passage of a bill to curtail the powers of the House of Lords. SAMSUNG NP-N145-JP04 Laptop Keyboard The Parliament Act 1911 effectively abolished the power of the House of Lords to reject legislation, or to amend in a way unacceptable to the House of Commons: most bills could be delayed for no more than three parliamentary sessions or two calendar years. It was not meant to be a permanent solution; more comprehensive reforms were planned. Neither party, however, pursued the matter with much enthusiasm, and the House of Lords remained primarily hereditary. In 1949, the Parliament Act reduced the delaying power of the House of Lords further to two sessions or one year. SONY KFRMBA221A Laptop Keyboard In 1958, the predominantly hereditary nature of the House of Lords was changed by the Life Peerages Act 1958, which authorised the creation of life baronies, with no numerical limits. The number of Life Peers then gradually increased, though not at a constant rate. TOSHIBA Satellite L755-S5308 Laptop Keyboard The Labour Party had for most of the twentieth century a commitment, based on the party's historic opposition to class privilege, to abolish the House of Lords, or at least expel the hereditary element. In 1968, the Labour Government of Harold Wilson attempted to reform the House of Lords by introducing a system under which hereditary peers would be allowed to remain in the House and take part in debate, but would be unable to vote. This plan, SAMSUNG Q330-JA02 Laptop Keyboard however, was defeated in the House of Commons by a coalition of traditionalist Conservatives (such as Enoch Powell), and Labour members who continued to advocate the outright abolition of the Upper House (such as Michael Foot). SONY VAIO VGN-CR31S Laptop Keyboard When Michael Foot attained the leadership of the Labour Party, abolition of the House of Lords became a part of the party's agenda; under Neil Kinnock, however, a reformed Upper House was proposed instead. In the meantime, the creation of hereditary peerages (except for members of the Royal Family) has been arrested, with the exception of three creations during the administration of the Conservative Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. TOSHIBA 6037b0026805 Laptop Keyboard Whilst some hereditary peers were at best apathetic the Labour Party's clear commitments were not lost on Baron Sudeley who for decades had been considered an expert on the House of Lords. In December 1979 the Conservative Monday Club published his extensive paper entitled Lords Reform – Why tamper with the House of Lords? HP Pavilion dv6-2138ca Laptop Keyboard and in July 1980 The Monarchist carried another article by Lord Sudeley entitled Why Reform or Abolish the House of Lords?.[18] In 1990 he authored a further booklet for The Monday Club entitled The Preservation of the House of Lords. HP G72-a

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The Labour Party included in its 1997 general election Manifesto a commitment to remove the hereditary peerage from the House of Lords. Their subsequent election victory in 1997 under Tony Blair finally heralded the demise of the traditional House of Lords. The Labour Government introduced legislation to expel all hereditary peers from the Upper House as a first step in Lords reform. As a part of a compromise, TOSHIBA Satellite L750-ST4N02 Laptop Keyboard however, it agreed to permit 92 hereditary peers to remain until the reforms were complete. Thus all but 92 hereditary peers were expelled under the House of Lords Act 1999 (see below for its provisions), making the House of Lords predominantly an appointed house. SAMSUNG NP-N150-KA03 Laptop Keyboard Since 1999 however, no further reform has taken place. The Wakeham Commission proposed introducing a 20% elected element to the Lords, but this plan was widely criticised. A Joint Committee was established in 2001 to resolve the issue, but it reached no conclusion and instead gave Parliament seven options to choose from (fully appointed, 20% elected, 40% elected, 50% elected, 60% elected, 80%, and fully elected). TOSHIBA Satellite U305-S7467 Laptop Keyboard In a confusing series of votes in February 2003, all of these options were defeated although the 80% elected option fell by just three votes in the Commons. Socialist MPs favouring outright abolition voted against all the options. SONY VAIO PCG-FR215H Laptop Keyboard In 2005 a cross-party group of senior MPs (Kenneth Clarke, Paul Tyler, Tony Wright, Sir George Young and Robin Cook) published a report proposing that 70% of members of the House of Lords should be elected – each member for a single long term – by the single transferable vote system. Most of the remainder were to be appointed by a Commission to ensure a mix of "skills, Compaq Presario CQ71-420ER Laptop Keyboard knowledge and experience". This proposal was also not implemented. A cross-party campaign initiative called "Elect the Lords" was set up to make the case for a predominantly elected Second Chamber in the run up to the 2005 general election. HP G62-451SA Laptop Keyboard At the 2005 election, the Labour Party proposed further reform of the Lords, but without specific details. The Conservative Party, which had, prior to 1997, opposed any tampering with the House of Lords, favoured an 80% elected Second Chamber, while the Liberal Democrats called for a fully elected Senate. During 2006, a cross-party committee discussed Lords reform, with the aim of reaching a consensus: its findings were published in early 2007TOSHIBA 92.N4XBC.A01 Laptop Keyboard On 7 March 2007, members of the House of Commons voted ten times on a variety of alternative compositions for the upper chamber. Outright abolition, a wholly appointed house, a 20% elected house, a 40% elected house, a 50% elected house and a 60% elected house were all defeated in turn. Finally the vote for an 80% elected chamber was won by 305 votes to 267, and the vote for a wholly elected chamber was won by an even greater margin: 337 to 224. Significantly this last vote represented an overall majority of MPs, giving it huge political authority. DELL Inspiron 6400 Laptop Keyboard Furthermore, examination of the names of MPs voting at each division shows that, of the 305 who voted for the 80% elected option, 211 went on to vote for the 100% elected option. Given that this vote took place after the vote on 80% – whose result was already known when the vote on 100% took place – this shows a clear preference for a fully elected upper house among those who voted for the only other option that passed. SONY VAIO VGN-C2S Series Laptop Keyboard But this was nevertheless only an indicative vote and many political and legislative hurdles remained to be overcome for supporters of an elected second chamber. The House of Lords, soon after, rejected this proposal and voted for an entirely appointed House of Lords. ASUS X53S Laptop Keyboard In July 2008 Jack Straw, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, introduced a white paper to the House of Commons proposing to replace the House of Lords with an 80–100% elected chamber, with one third being elected at each general election, for a term of approximately 12–15 years. The white paper states that as the peerage would be totally separated from membership of the upper house,  SAMSUNG NP-N150-JP01 Laptop Keyboard the name "House of Lords" would no longer be appropriate: It goes on to explain that there is cross-party consensus for the new chamber to be titled the "Senate of the United Kingdom", however in order to ensure the debate remains on the role of the upper house rather than its title, the white paper is neutral on the title of the new house. SONY VAIO PCG-FR315M Laptop Keyboard In Meg Russell’s article; "Is the House of Lords already reformed?" she states three essential features of a legitimate House of Lords. The first is that it must have adequate powers over legislation to make the government think twice before making a decision. The House of Lords currently has enough power to make it relevant. HP 640436-001 Laptop Keyboard During Tony Blair’s first year he was defeated thirty-eight times in the Lords.[19] Secondly, as to the composition of the Lords, Meg Russell suggests that the composition must be distinct from the Commons otherwise it would render the Lords useless. The third feature is the perceived legitimacy of the Lords. She writes; "In general legitimacy comes with election."[19][20]ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard What will concern ministers in the coalition government is how these features are interlinked. If the Lords have a distinct and elected composition, this would probably come about through fixed term proportional representation. If this happens then the perceived legitimacy of the Lords could arguably outweigh the legitimacy of the commons. HP 550 Laptop Keyboard This would especially be the case if the House of Lords had been elected more recently than the House of Commons as it could be said to reflect the will of the people better than the Commons.[19]HP Envy 15 Laptop Keyboard In this scenario there may well come a time when the Lords twice reject a Bill from the Commons and it is forced through. This would in turn trigger questions about the amount of power the Lords should have and there would be pressure for it to increase. This hypothetical process is known as the "circumnavigation of power theory".[19] It infers that it would never be in any government’s interest to legitimise the Lords as they would be forfeiting their own power. TOSHIBA NSK-TBD01 Laptop Keyboard The House of Lords does not control the term of the Prime Minister or of the Government. Only the Lower House may force the Prime Minister to resign or call elections by passing a motion of no-confidence or by withdrawing supply. Thus, the House of Lords' oversight of the government is limited. Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard DELL Inspiron 6400 Laptop Keyboard DELL Latitude D830 Laptop Keyboard

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