Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Suffolk/UK: Local tributes to political icon Tony Benn

17:50 14 March 2014

Tony Benn with David Dimbleby filming Question Time in Ipswich in 2006

Tony Benn with David Dimbleby filming Question Time in Ipswich in 2006

The death of veteran left-winger Tony Benn prompted tributes from political friends and foes from across the region.

Labour MEP for the East of England Richard Howitt said Mr Benn was Tony Benn as one of the finest political speakers in the history of the Labour Party.

He said: “Tony Benn was an inspiration to me and many young people coming into the Labour Party, and with his very sad loss today our party has lost one of the finest teachers, prophets and thinkers in its history.

“Tony Benn taught me that to be a politician you also had to be a teacher, and he was always someone who put policies before personalities or polls.

“My first meeting with him was when he came to my university in the wake of an attempted coup in Spain, where he drove home his lifelong passion for the importance of parliamentary democracy.

“An abiding memory for me about Tony was in regularly attending his late night conversations over a pot of tea at Labour Party Conference which always bubbled with ideas, argument and humour.”

Lord Deben, the former Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, crossed swords with Mr Benn on several occasions – and remembers him as a “wonderful speaker.”

“He was a real challenger of received wisdom but I think his extreme views cost the Labour Party hugely.”

Lord Deben said it was necessary for the extremes of both parties to come up with ideas to challenge the leadership – but these extreme views could frighten voters.

“That is what happened to Labour at that time (during the 1980s). He was always very dogmatic and prepared to argue his point of view.

“In some ways he was very old fashioned – he always opposed the EU and he also opposed the merger between the Congregationalists and Presbyterians to form the United Reformed church.”

However he was always very courteous and polite – and was true to his views come what may.

0 comments

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

Members of a Suffolk-based fitness team have raised more than £7,000 for Ipswich Hospital’s neonatal and paediatric wards after completing the Three Peaks Challenge in just 22 hours.

Opened up in 1938, Broomhill Pool was, for decades, one of the most popular attractions in Ipswich.

A nursing home where an elderly man fell to his death has been put into special measures after inspectors gave it an overall rating of “inadequate”.

A Suffolk man who was the “inside employee” in a £37,000 fraud at an Ipswich grain terminal has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Education provision has been criticised at a small Suffolk prison but independent inspectors say it has a “generally humane, enabling and purposeful culture”.

Building a massive new estate in open countryside on the edge of Felixstowe would bring more benefits than the harm it would cause, according to the developers.

A person has died after being hit by a train this morning between Ipswich and Cambridge.

This week’s report on Hidden Needs in Suffolk has been seen as something of an eye-opener because it shows deprivation is not confined to the council estates of our largest towns, writes Paul Geater.

Today marks the centenary of the birth of Ronald “Carl” Giles, a treasured Suffolk icon who became Britain’s best-loved cartoonist.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24