Hilary Benn

Hilary Benn

Infobox Minister
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable

name = Hilary Benn
honorific-suffix = MP

office = Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
term_start = 28 June 2007
term_end =
primeminister = Gordon Brown
predecessor = David Miliband
successor = Incumbent
office2 = Secretary of State for International Development
term_start2 = 6 October 2003
term_end2 = 28 June 2007
primeminister2 = Tony Blair
predecessor2 = Valerie Amos
successor2 = Douglas Alexander
constituency_MP3 = Leeds Central
majority3 = 11,866 (40.7%)
term_start3 = 9 May 1999
term_end3 =
predecessor3 = Derek Fatchett
successor3 = Incumbent
birth_date = Birth date and age|1953|11|26|df=yes
birth_place = Hammersmith, London
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse = Sally Christina Clark
party = Labour
relations =
children = Michael, James, Jonathan and Caroline
residence =
alma_mater = University of Sussex
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website = http://www.hilarybenn.org
footnotes =

Hilary James Wedgwood Benn (born 26 November 1953) is a British Labour politician, currently serving as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Member of Parliament for the West Yorkshire constituency of Leeds Central. In June 2007 Benn ran for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party, coming fourth behind Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, and Jon Cruddas.

Early life

Born in Hammersmith, London, Hilary Benn is a fourth generation MP as the second son of former Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn and the educationalist Caroline Benn. He attended Holland Park School and University of Sussex where he graduated in Russian and East European Studies. In 1973, whilst at university, he married fellow student Rosalind Retey, who died of cancer at age 26 in 1979; Benn subsequently married Sally Christina Clark in 1982. He has four children, Michael, James, Jonathan and Caroline. He and his family live in Chiswick, West London.

Member of Parliament

On leaving university, Benn became a Research Officer with the ASTMS and rose to become Head of Policy for Manufacturing Science and Finance. In 1979 he was elected to the Ealing Borough Council where he was Deputy Leader from 1986 to 1990. He was the Labour candidate for Ealing North in both the 1983 General Election and 1987 General Election. On both occasions he was defeated by the Conservative candidate Harry Greenway.

When Labour won power in 1997, Benn was appointed Special Adviser to David Blunkett as Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In 1999 he was quickly selected as the Labour candidate for the Leeds Central by-election following the death of Derek Fatchett. Benn won the by-election on 10 June 1999 on a very small turnout, by just over 2,000 votes. He made his maiden speech on 23 June 1999.

In government

Following the 2001 General Election, he joined the Labour Government as Clare Short's deputy in the role of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (DFID). In May 2002, he moved to the Home Office, where he became Minister for Prisons and Probation, and in May 2003 he returned to DFID under its new Secretary of State, Baroness Valerie Amos with the more senior position of Minister of State. When Amos was appointed Leader of the House of Lords in October 2003, he replaced her as Secretary of State. He became a Member of the Privy Council in 2003. He became Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in June 2007.

Failed bid for deputy leadership

Benn was the bookmakers' favourite for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party. [cite web|url=http://www.casinotimes.co.uk/casino-news/2007-02/william-hill-labour-170207.htm|title=Blears 8/1 For Deputy Labour Leader|date=17 February 2007|work=CasinoTimes.co.uk|publisher=Casino Times|accessdate=2008-10-11] The early polls in the Deputy Leadership contest showed him to be the grassroots' favourite - in a YouGov poll of party members, Benn was top on 27%, followed by Education Secretary Alan Johnson on 18%, Environment Secretary David Miliband on 17%, Justice Minister Harriet Harman on 10%, and Labour Party Chair Hazel Blears on 7%. [cite web|url=http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/312|title=YouGov polls on the Labour leadership|last=Wells|first=Anthony |date=8 September 2006|work=UK Polling Report|publisher=Anthony Wells|accessdate=2008-10-11] He had a strong degree of support in the youth of the party.Fact|date=May 2007 The contest was formally launched on 14 May 2007 after the resignation of incumbent Deputy leader John Prescott, Benn had some initial difficulties securing the necessary 45 nominations required to get on the ballot paper but he acquired the support needed to join five other candidates - Hazel Blears, Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain and backbencher Jon Cruddas. [citeweb|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6658307.stm | date=16 May 2007|accessdate=2007-05-17|work=BBC News Online|title=Benn short of backers] [citeweb|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6663653.stm|title=Deputy hopefuls make their case|date=17 May 2007|accessdate=2007-05-17|work=BBC News Online] Supporting nominations from constituency Labour Parties showed Hilary Benn obtaining 25%, Jon Cruddas 22%, Harriet Harman 19%, Alan Johnson 14%, Hazel Blears 12% and Peter Hain 8% of the constituency parties that voted. The Labour leadership contest closed on Sunday 24 June 2007 with Harriet Harman winning the contest.Benn was eliminated in the 3rd round of voting having reached a total of 22.33% of the votes. Harriet Harman was elected in the 5th round with 50.43% of the vote.

Personal life

Benn strongly resembles his father, Tony Benn in his speaking style and delivery, but is a political centrist and New Labour loyalist. It is in this vein that he famously describes himself as "a Benn, but not a Bennite". [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3023827.stm|title=Profile: Hilary Benn|date=24 June 2007|work=BBC News|publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation|accessdate=2008-10-11] Like his father, he is a teetotaller.cite news|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/nov/09/labour.hilarybenn|title='I'm not a natural rebel'|last=Ashley|first=Jackie|date=9 November 2006|work=The Guardian|publisher=Guardian News & Media|accessdate=2008-10-11] He also became a vegetarian before persuading his father to be one. His niece, Emily Benn, daughter of elder brother Stephen, has been selected as parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham. Hilary famously collects pictures of badgers.


External links

* [http://www.hilarybenn.org HilaryBenn.org] official site
* [http://www.benn4deputy.org Benn4Deputy.org] Hilary Benn's Deputy Leadership site
* [http://www.dfid.gov.uk/aboutdfid/bio_benn.asp DFID - Hilary Benn MP] Department for International Development official biography
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-360,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Hilary Benn MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/hilary_benn/leeds_central TheyWorkForYou.com - Hilary Benn MP]
* [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2094225,00.html Close family, distant politics] Observer interview with Benn and his father

NAME= Benn, Hilary James Wedgwood
SHORT DESCRIPTION=British politician and Cabinet minister
DATE OF BIRTH= 26 November 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH= Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

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