Tony Benn: Parliamentary Democracy In Britain Bankrupt
Parliamentary democracy in Britain is in a state of bankruptcy, Veteran Labour MP and staunch left-winger Tony Benn said Monday in one his last speeches to the House of Commons.
Benn, 75, took advantage of a key moment of change in parliamentary life, -- the election of a new speaker for the House of Commons -- to denounce archaic voting procedures and what he said was the sidelining of the British parliament.
"While we were in recess, a fuel crisis, the fall of the euro, a war in the Middle East has happened. And the only bill we have to discuss today in called 'Insolvency Bill Number One, Lords'," he said.
"We should be debating a bill called 'Bankruptcy Bill, Commons," he told the House.
Benn also decried, not for the first time, the fact the British parliament made no pronouncement on the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, or the recent dispatch of British troops to Sierra Leone.
"We are an impotent parliament," he said, offering the fact as a reason for Britons taking less and less interest in politics.
A cabinet member in the 1970s, Benn chose to bring his parliamentary career to a close on a sarcastically critical note.
"This is one of my last speeches in this parliament before I go into politics," he quipped.
But the MP for the northern English constituency of Chesterfield, who has announced that he will not stand for re-election at the next general elections predicted for next Spring, also delivered a serious message.
"We are not doing the job we were elected to do. As we enter the 21st century, we must restore this parliament and not be content to be an audience that allows itself to be managed," he said -- LONDON (AFP)
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