Melania Trump Club

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hilary Benn

Hilary James Wedgwood Benn (born 26 November 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds Central since a by-election in 1999 and who also served as Shadow Foreign Secretary from May 2015 until June 2016.

Born in Hammersmith, the son of Tony and Caroline Benn, he studied Russian and East European Studies at the University of Sussex. He then worked for two trade unions, ASTMS and MSF. After joining the Labour Party, Benn was elected a councillor on Ealing Borough Council on which he served for several years, and was twice the unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for the Ealing North constituency. After the 1997 general election, Benn was a special adviser to David Blunkett before winning a by-election in Leeds Central in 1999.

Benn served in the cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development from 2003 to 2007 and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2007 to 2010. In opposition he served as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons from 2010 to 2011, and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2011 to 2015.

On leaving university, Benn became a research officer with the ASTMS and later became Head of Policy for Manufacturing Science and Finance. He reportedly applied for head of Labour Party research under the leadership of John Smith, but did not get the job.

In 1980 he was seconded to the Labour Party to act as a joint secretary to the finance panel of the Labour Party Commission of Inquiry. In 1979 he was elected to Ealing Borough Council where he served as deputy leader from 1986 to 1990.

He was the Labour parliamentary candidate for Ealing North in the 1983 and 1987 general elections. On both occasions he was defeated by the Conservative candidate Harry Greenway. Reflecting on the defeat in the 1983 general election, Benn said: "That was a formative experience for me because we went out on the doorstep and we didn't win the public's confidence. It made me very uncomfortable. Personally, that left a mark on me."

Benn served as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010 during Harriet Harman's interim leadership of the Labour Party. In the Shadow Cabinet of Ed Miliband, announced on 8 October 2010, he was appointed Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. When Miliband reshuffled his cabinet on 7 October 2011, he was named Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

After the 2015 UK general election, in the Second Shadow Cabinet of Harriet Harman, Benn was named Shadow Foreign Secretary, after the previous incumbent, Douglas Alexander, had not been re-elected. On 17 June, Benn deputised for Harriet Harman at Prime Minister's Questions, when David Cameron was away in Europe, and Benn was Harman's unofficial deputy. One of the questions he asked challenged George Osborne, who was deputising for Cameron, over whether HMS Bulwark was under active review as revealed in a report by The Guardian. Writing for the New Statesman, George Eaton commended Benn's performance, saying: "Benn smartly denied the Chancellor the chance to deploy his favourite attack lines by devoting his six questions to national security and the Mediterranean refugee crisis, rather than the economy."

Benn supports the maintenance of a nuclear deterrent in the UK, saying: "I think a British prime minister has to have that option. The whole purpose of the deterrent, of course, is it is trying to deter a potential enemy."

In 1973, whilst at university, Benn married fellow student Rosalind Retey. She died of cancer at the age of 26 in 1979. Benn subsequently married Sally Christina Clark in 1982. He has four children.

Like his father, who died in March 2014, he is a teetotaller and vegetarian.

Benn was shortlisted for the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award in 2015 for his work on increasing aid at DfID, and remains in the directory of the Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who publication.

No comments:

Post a Comment