Tony’s father was Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, a British Labor Party politician who served in Parliament for nearly 50 years. He was an enigmatic and outspoken politician who occasionally introduced socialism into the British Labor Party. He was born into a prosperous English family to William Wedgewood Benn, a politician himself. Benn’s father’s views and political standing led him to pursue a career in British politics, and he began by serving as president of the Oxford Union while still a student. Benn’s political career included the passage of the Peerage Act 1963, the opening of the Post Office Tower, and the passage and implementation of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. He served as Chairman of the Labor Party while the Labor Party was in opposition. He was also an active member of the Cabinet, serving first as Secretary of State for Industry and then as Secretary of State for Energy. He was the Labor Party’s most recognized person on the left throughout the 1980s opposition period. Benn became a popular politician in the United Kingdom due to his socialist views and strong engagement in criticizing the act of supporting the Iraq War. After resigning from Parliament, he served as President of the Stop the War Coalition until his demise.
Childhood & Adolescence
Tony Benn was born in London on April 3, 1925, to the first Viscount of Stansgate, William Wedgwood Benn. His father was a Liberal member of Parliament who eventually switched to the Labor Party. Benn was exposed to politics and its complexities from an early age.Benn attended Westminster School and then earned a degree from Oxford’s New College.
Even at Oxford, politics remained a passion, and he was chosen president of the Oxford Union.Benn paused his studies in 1943 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force, despite the fact that his father and brother Michael were already serving in the RAF during World War II. He served in South Africa and Rhodesia as a pilot officer.
Career of Tony
In 1950, Ben was chosen as the Labor Party’s candidate for Bristol South East, and he won the election, becoming the Member of Parliament for South Gloucestershire. He became the youngest Member of Parliament after taking the oath of office a month later. Ben was able to successfully relinquish his hereditary peerage in 1963, shortly after the Peerage Act was passed.
He later became the Steward of the Manor of Northstead and was removed from the mansion. In 1964, Harold Wilson’s government appointed Benn as Postmaster General. He was in charge of the Post Office Tower’s completion as well as the establishment of the Post Bus and Girobank.
In 1966, he was named Minister of Technology, and he took a deep interest in the ongoing industrial reorganization of the time. He also watched British Leyland come into being as a result of the merger of many vehicle manufacturers.
Benn was appointed Secretary of State for Industry by the Labor Government in 1974, and during his time there, he helped draft the Health and Safety at Work Act and promoted worker cooperatives.
In 1975, he was appointed Secretary of State for Energy and ran for Labor Party leader, but lost in the first round of voting. He backed Michael Foot instead of contesting the second ballot.
Later, Benn turned to the Labor Party’s left wing, challenging Denis Healey for the position of Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in 1981. By a 1% margin, he was defeated by Healey. Due to boundary changes, Benn’s Bristol South East constituency was disbanded in the 1983 elections, and he did not win the newly constituted Bristol South seat.
He later stood unsuccessfully for Bristol East before winning a by-election in Chesterfield. He ran for Party Leader in 1988, following Labor’s third straight loss in the national election, but failed by a large majority. He was one of only a few Parliamentarians who voted against the Kosovo War.
Benn did not run in the 2001 general election, claiming in the media that he needed more time to focus on politics more successfully. He was chosen President of the Stop the War Coalition shortly after. Following his retirement, Benn began utilizing the media to spread his beliefs, and his BBC Radio 2 show with Bailey won ‘Best Live Act’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2003. In addition, he spoke at several Glastonbury Festivals.
In 2005, Benn appeared on Channel 5’s ‘Big Ideas That Changed The World’ series to present a documentary about democracy. With his left-wing vision of democracy, he argued that old social democratic principles were in peril in a globalized society.
In Manchester in 2006, he took part in the “Time to Go” march, which aimed to persuade the Labor government to remove armed forces from Iraq and refrain from engaging in the war.
Benn discussed the Post Office Tower in the 2008 ‘Doctor Who’ DVD release ‘The War Machines,’ in which he was featured. He was the Labor Party’s second MP to appear on a ‘Doctor Who’ DVD. ‘The Writing on the Wall’ was performed by Benn and Bailey in 2011 at St Mary’s Church in Kent.
The following year, he got his doctorate from the University of Glamorgan. Benn stated his support for the People’s Assembly in a letter published in The Guardian newspaper in 2013. He also spoke at the People’s Assembly Conference at Westminster Central Hall.
Personal History and Legacies
Benn met Caroline Middleton DeCamp at Worcester College over tea in 1949 and married her the following year. Stephen, Hilary, Melissa, and Joshua were their four children, and they had 10 grandchildren. Caroline passed away in 2000 due to cancer.Benn’s children have been politically active: his first son Stephen served as an elected member of the Inner London Education Authority, and his second son Hilary served as a London councilor and Labor Member of Parliament for Leeds Central.
Benn died on 14 March 2014 at his home, surrounded by family. He was 88 years old when he died.Benn proposed to his wife nine days after meeting her on a city park seat. He later purchased the bench from Oxford City Council and had it erected in the grounds of their Holland Park home.Benn was the late actress Dame Margaret Rutherford’s first cousin.
Estimated Net Worth
Tony is one of the wealthiest politicians and is ranked among the most popular. Tony Benn’s net worth is estimated to be between $1-5 million, based on our review of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.