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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Slavery apology 'not required'
Tony Benn
The ex-MP will be in Bath to deliver a lecture on freedom
Former Bristol South-East MP Tony Benn says the city does not need to apologise for its role in the historic slave trade.

The veteran campaigner told BBC Radio Bristol nobody alive today could be held responsible for the practice.

He told the radio station, it would be more appropriate to work towards writing-off debt in African countries.

In May a public debate consisting of academics and writers in Bristol concluded an apology was appropriate.

"My own feeling is from a practical point, first of all no one living alive in Bristol today is in anyway responsible," said Mr Benn.

"Secondly if you want to make a contribution or make a recognition of slavery, abolish debt in Africa. I think the words matter less than the action

"I personally feel that would be a very legitimate campaign to wage."

The veteran left-winger will be in Bath next Wednesday to deliver The Wilberforce Lecture, to recognize and commemorate the work of 18th Century anti-slavery campaigner and MP, William Wilberforce.

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