Why would anybody think Hilary Benn a good choice as Labour leader? The role requires someone who can stick to a policy for longer than two weeks, and Mr Benn has shown he cannot manage this, over Syria.
Two weeks before the crucial vote on air strikes against Daesh in that country, Mr Benn opposed the possibility of any such strikes, but on the day he made a passionate speech in favour of them.
That turnaround qualifies him to be described in his own father’s terms as a “weathercock” – a politician who faces any way the wind blows.
Tony Benn said we needed more people in political life who were “signposts” – choosing a direction of travel, saying “this is the way forward”, and sticking to it.
Alex Salmond was right to suggest Mr Benn’s late father would have been appalled by his change of heart, and Mr Benn’s reaction to the indictment is neither here nor there.
To This Writer, it seems more likely he is unhappy that he has lost the respect of his peers, but what did he expect?
He betrayed his party leader, and he betrayed the memory of his father as well.
Hilary Benn has ruled out running for Labour leader in the wake of his dramatic speech on Syria and spoken of his regret at people using his father’s memory to attack his position in favour of airstrikes.
The shadow foreign secretary, son of the late anti-war Labour grandee Tony Benn, condemned former SNP first minister Alex Salmond’s comment that his father would be “burling in his grave” at his speech advocating bombing during the House of Commons debate on Syria.
“I agree with his fellow SNP MP who described it as repulsive. I thought, ‘Well, pretty cheap,’” he told the Guardian.
While he won respect for sticking to his views and speaking from the frontbench against Jeremy Corbyn, others accused him of betraying his leader and his father. Benn revealed he had replied to the many emails he had received since, even abusive ones.
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