A NUMBER OF Labour politicians have paid tribute to Tony Benn who has passed away after a short illness at the age of 88.
Tony Benn appeared at the Thameside Theatre in October, 2012. West Thurrock councillor Victoria Holloway went to see him and reflected on what Mr Benn meant to her.
Cllr Holloway said: “I went to see him because I admired him so much for all he stood for. He encompassed Labour values and was steadfast in his beliefs and his passion for justice.
“He was not a demagogue and would admit when he was wrong. It was so good to see him that night. It is a very sad day.”
Thurrock MEP Richard Howitt has also marked the passing of Tony Benn.
Mr Howitt said:
“The Labour Party has lost a teacher, a prophet and a thinker.
“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.
“The last time I saw him was sitting on a picnic box at the TUC’s mass protest march against the cuts just two years ago when he marched with the rest of us just like anyone else.
“This morning I feel very sorry that I will never again be able to hear a speech from one of the Labour Party’s greatest ever orators. Whether you agreed with him or not, everyone would want to listen to Tony Benn.”