FORMER Thurrock MP, Andrew MacKinlay paid his respects in London today (Thursday) as he attended the funeral of Tony Benn.
The service took place at St Margaret’s Church in Westminster at 11am.
Mr Benn’s body was be taken by hearse from the gates of New Palace Yard, with family members following on foot.
Mr Mackinlay spoke to YT to praise Tony Benn.
He said: “There is so much that we have to thank Tony Benn for. Much of the transparency and accountability that you see in parliament today was down to Tony Benn.
Up until the sixties, life as an MP was lived on a part-time basis and many committees, if they existed, were behind close doors.
We have to remember what a leading light he was in the Labour Party in the sixties. He so nearly became its leader. Political life, from the mid-eighties, was more of a political journey for Tony and he always held true to his beliefs.
When he came to Thurrock in the nineties (at the Thameside Theatre), he was introduced to one of the audience. When asked what he did, the man replied: “I am just a plumber. Tony Benn was quite direct: “No, you are not just a plumber. It is a vital job and one you should be proud of.
Tony Benn had great discipline, great drive and great humour.
I sat next to him on his last day in the House of Commons. As the speaker left the chamber, Tony, being Tony, lit his pipe. Every little act of defiance always had an element of charm.
“I shall miss him greatly”.