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NUJ joins mourners of Tony Benn

14 March 2014

The National Union of Journalists joined those mourning the death of former MP and NUJ member of honour Tony Benn and sent condolences to his family.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Tony's commitment to journalism and his support for broader trade union principles brought him the respect and admiration of members across the NUJ. He was a great parliamentarian, an inspiring speaker and a champion for trade union values.
"He was a long-term member, member of honour and a stalwart supporter of the NUJ. He was a person of great charm and unfailing courtesy. He will be much missed."

Tony joined the NUJ in January 1950; he was working for the BBC. During his political career, he supported the union in many of its disputes, for example sending messages of support to journalists in dispute with Northcliffe newspapers in his constituency, Bristol, and he joined members on picket lines on many occasions. 

He spoke at NUJ events, including the union's Delegate Meeting in Birmingham in 2007 and was a great supporter of the George Viner Memorial Fund, an NUJ charity supporting the training of young black and Asian journalist students, saying: "The George Viner fund helps journalists and that helps us because it will raise the quality of our media."

Tony Benn joins NUJ members and Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary, on the BBC picket line at Television Centre © Donnacha DeLong
Tony Benn joins NUJ members and Michelle Stanistreet, general
secretary, on the BBC picket line at Television Centre, July 2011
©Donnacha DeLong

It was Tony who opened Headland House, when the NUJ moved into its new headquarters in King's Cross in 2001.

John McDonnell MP, secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group, said:

"Tony Benn was the articulate advocate of socialism who inspired my generation and gave us all hope of a fair and equal society. He will be remembered for his principled commitment to his socialist beliefs and his principled stand on so many issues. His passing adds to a terribly sad week for the Left, coming so soon after the loss of Bob Crow."

The former MP and minister was known as a formidable orator, but he will also be remembered for his writing and his journalism.

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