Former Chesterfield MP gets named Peta’s Person of the Year

Tony Benn with trademark pipe and cuppa
Tony Benn with trademark pipe and cuppa

The late Chesterfield MP Tony Benn has been recognised for his lifelong commitment to protecting animals.

The Labour politician, who died in March aged 88, has been named Peta UK’s person of the year 2014.

During his 47 years in office, Mr Benn, a vegetarian, came to the defence of animals on many occasions – voting against fox hunting in Parliament and protesting against experiments on animals in laboratories.

Ingrid Newkirk, Peta founder, said: “An outspoken defender of justice, his advocacy for animals helped open eyes, hearts and minds. Mr Benn has left a lasting legacy of respect for animals, for which we are deeply grateful.”

After hearing of the accolade, leading barrister Michael Mansfield QC said: “I often stood alongside Tony at meetings and marches on a variety of issues linked to the need to promote justice. His enduring enthusiasm and powerful rhetoric inspired action.

“Above all, he recognised the violation of animal sanctity was invariably committed by the same people and in the same manner as the violation of human rights. This award would have held special meaning for him.”