10 Tony Benn Facts

Here are ten facts about Tony Benn.

  • Tony Benn was born on 3rd April 1925 in London. His full name was Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, and his father was William Wedgewood Benn (an MP and then member of the House of Lords), and his mother was Margaret Benn was a prominent feminist.
  • Tony Benn joined the Royal Air Force in 1943, serving as a pilot. His brother, Michael, was also in the RAF and he was killed in an accident.
  • He met his wife, Caroline Middleton DeCamp, at Oxford (where Benn was studying philosophy, politics and economics). He proposed to her on a park bench. He later purchased the bench and the couple kept it in their garden. Caroline died of cancer in 2000.
  • He had four children – Stephen, Hilary (a Member of Parliament), Melissa and Joshua.
  • He served as a Member of Parliament for Bristol South East (1950-1960, and 1963-1983) and Chesterfield (1984-2001). He held number of roles in government, including: Postmaster General (1964-66), Minister of Technology (1966-1970), Chairman of the Labour Party (1971-1972), Secretary of State for Industry (1974-1975), Secretary of State for Energy (1975-1979).
  • After leaving the House of Commons in 2001, Tony Benn became the President of the Stop the War Coalition, campaigning for the removal of troops from Iraq.
  • In 1963, Tony Benn fought for the right to renounce his peerage (he was 2nd Viscount Stansgate following the death of his father and brother) and continue to serve in the House of Commons. His campaign was successful and brought about the Peerage Act.
  • Tony Benn became more left wing the longer he was involved in politics, and he was a massive supporter of the miners’ strikes of the mid-80s.
  • Tony Benn was an avid diarist, and he has published several volumes of his diaries.
  • Tony Benn died on 14th March 2014. He was at home with his family following a stint in hospital for a serious illness. He was aged 88.

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