The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61115   Message #987781
Posted By: Peter K (Fionn)
21-Jul-03 - 08:05 PM
Thread Name: any one going to tolpuddle?
Subject: RE: any one going to tolpuddle?
Having been elected to parliament in 1950, Tony Benn became Viscount Stansgate in 1960 on his father's death. As noted above, the title had been created for Tony's father some years earlier.

As a member of the House of Lords, albeit a reluctant one, Benn was no longer eligible to sit as an MP. There was, however, nothing to stop him standing as an MP, so he stood again, and won. As he was still ineligible to take his seat, it went to the (Tory) runner-up.

Benn then campaigned for legislation to tackle this nonsense, and thus the Peerage Act was passed in 1963 (under a Tory government, incidentally). The Tory MP who had succeeded him immediately did the decent thing and resigned his seat, causing another by-election which, predictably enough, Benn won.

Let Gareth sneer with his usual ignorance (his memory may be long, but he's got that long-abandoned mouthful of a title wrong in at least three ways). The fact remains that Benn has done as much as anyone, and more than most politicians, to break down the class barriers that have defiled UK society for generations. I didn't make it to Tolpuddle, but for all Gareth's spluttering, I'm sure Benn will have had a rousing reception from his many lifelong friends in the union movement.