Benn honoured by MPs and peers at Parliament chapel ahead of funeral

Tony Benn's coffin arrives at the Palace of Westminster to be placed in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft.

Tony Benn's coffin arrives at the Palace of Westminster to be placed in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft.

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MPs and peers paid their respects to Tony Benn in Parliament’s Chapel of St Mary Undercroft yesterday on the eve of his funeral.

The former Labour Cabinet Minister’s body was allowed to rest in the crypt chapel after the move was granted royal permission.

The left wing politician, who died aged 88 earlier this month, was afforded the honour, previously only bestowed on former prime minister Baroness Thatcher, in tribute to his “almost unique” record at Westminster.

First elected to parliament in 1950, Mr Benn renounced a peerage in 1963 in order to remain in the House of Commons.

He spent more than 50 years as MP, latterly representing the constituency of Chesterfield from 1984 to 2001. His son, Hilary, is the current Labour MP for Leeds Central.

Mr Benn won a new status as a national treasure following his retirement from Parliament, touring the country to speak to packed audiences in venues from town halls to West End theatres and the Glastonbury festival.

His funeral will take place today at 11am opposite parliament at St Margaret’s Church after his body is taken by hearse from the gates of New Palace Yard, with family members following on foot.

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