Benn's final visit to Parliament

Thurrock Gazette: Tony Benn's coffin arrives at the Palace of Westminster to be placed in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft. Tony Benn's coffin arrives at the Palace of Westminster to be placed in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft.

Tony Benn's coffin arrived in Westminster tonight as he made his final visit to Parliament.

The former Labour cabinet minister's body lay in rest in Parliament's Chapel of St Mary Undercroft as family gathered round for a private ceremony to mark his death.

His children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua were among around 30 close relatives who attended the service conducted by the Speaker of the House of Commons' Chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin in the crypt chapel.

The chapel has been also been briefly opened up to MPs, peers and passholders to allow them to pay their respects ahead of tomorrow's funeral.

The left wing politician, who died aged 88 earlier this month, was afforded the honour in tribute to his "almost unique" record at Westminster.

First elected to parliament in 1950, Mr Benn renounced a peerage to remain in the House of Commons and was an MP for more than 50 years, serving in the cabinets of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan and staging a bitterly divisive battle with Denis Healey for the Labour deputy leadership as the champion of the left in 1981.

He famously retired from parliament in 2001 saying he wanted to "spend more time on politics" and won a new status as a national treasure touring the country to speak to packed audiences in venues from town halls to West End theatres and the Glastonbury festival. Well into his 80s, he was a familiar and popular figure at demonstrations and anti-war rallies.

Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum after his death was announced on March 14 with Labour leader Ed Miliband describing the former figurehead of the Labour left as an "iconic figure" while Prime Minister David Cameron said that Mr Benn ensured there was "never a dull moment", even for those who disagreed with every word he said.

Mr Benn's funeral will take place tomorrow at 11am opposite parliament at St Margaret's Church after his body is taken by hearse from the gates of New Palace Yard, with family members following on foot.

A memorial meeting will be held later in the year.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree