BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: In Depth: Conferences 2001: Labour
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

banner Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Benn calls for UN peace pledge renewal
Tony Benn
Mr Benn said this might be his last conference speech
Veteran Labour politician Tony Benn has called for renewal of the United Nations pledge to prevent the "untold sorrow" of war.

Speaking in a conference foreign affairs debate on the current international crisis he said that the US must not act unilaterally in the wake of the terror attacks in New York and Washington.

That was the pledge my generation gave to this generation and we have to renew it now if future generations are to live in peace

Tony Benn
"We now face the horror of world terrorism after the atrocity in New York and it must be dealt with within the framework of the Charter of the UN because that is the only way you will get support," he said.

"Any military action must be authorised by the Security Council and not taken unilaterally because that is in the Charter of the UN."

Mr Benn, who retired from the Commons at the last election, reminded the conference of the record of Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government.

What it had done for peace needed to be put on the record, he said.

"It was a Labour government that signed the Charter of the UN," he said.

'Scourge of war'

Mr Benn then recited the preamble to the charter which expressed determination to save "succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind".

"That was the pledge my generation gave to this generation and we have to renew it now if future generations are to live in peace."'

The former cabinet minister then told the conference that this was probably his last speech to conference.

He thanked the Labour movement for its comradeship before receiving an standing ovation.

See also:

10 Mar 01 | UK
Tony Benn: End of an era
04 Dec 00 | Talking Politics
Benn's golden anniversary
Links to more Labour stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Labour stories