Political hero's tribute visit

PUBLISHED: 14:08 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:42 16 August 2010

REVERED socialist Tony Benn was the guest speaker at the final annual memorial meeting for pacifist Ron Huzzard, who died 10 years ago.

REVERED socialist Tony Benn was the guest speaker at the final annual memorial meeting for pacifist Ron Huzzard, who died 10 years ago.

The former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister spoke of the risk of nuclear catastrophe at the 10th memorial meeting Mr Huzzard, a respected peace activist who lived in Orpington. Mr Benn organised the first meeting in his honour after he died.

Although he had been at Westminster during the day protesting with postal workers against the sale of Royal Mail, the 83-year-old still made it to Orpington Labour club on last Tuesday (24) to address the audience of activists and Labour and Green party members.

Organiser Keith Galley said: "It was a very well attended and entertaining event, we had a full house and in fact people were standing at the back of the hall.

"Tony Benn spoke at the first memorial meeting for Ron Huzzard 10 years ago so we thought it would be good to have him round off the last meeting.

"He was very critical of Tony Blair and said that he was a member of the Labour party, not of New Labour. He discussed lots of left wing policies.

"He is a very active man, he told me that he has never been so busy as since he retired. I like his honesty and the fact he can be relied upon to throw his weight behind a good cause. But he is also a very human man and very understanding."

Orpington Labour club member, Chris Purnell said: "He told stories and people asked questions afterwards. His main point seemed to be the risk of nuclear catastrophe but he also discussed peace policies and called for an end to nuclear weapons."

Mr Benn is the current president of the Stop the War Coalition. After John Parker, he was Labour's longest serving MP, racking up 51 years in the House of Commons.

A poll by the BBC2 The Daily Politics programme in January 2007 selected Mr Benn as the UK's 'political hero' with 38 per cent of the vote, beating his ideological nemesis Baroness Margaret Thatcher who scored 35 per cent.

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