I can’t claim to be the most politically aware of people, but even I know how unique a politician Tony Benn was. He was a man who stuck rigidly and unapologetically to his principles, but more than that, he was someone who entered politics to serve the electorate and not himself.

In 1960 he inherited his father’s title, Viscount Stansgate, which forced him to sit in the House of Lords rather than The Commons. Rather than accept this change of personal and professional status, he fought for his seat in the 1961 by-election, then renounced his title to continue life as an MP. In a country and a profession where class and political persuasion go hand-in-hand, this was atypical behaviour from someone of his standing. More than that, it was proof that he put the interests of the public ahead of his own and that he considered himself to be just the same as you and I.

British politics was made greater by his presence and is diminished by his loss.

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