|The Right Honourable
|Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government|
7 October 2011
|Preceded by||Caroline Flint|
|Shadow Leader of the House of Commons|
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2011
|Preceded by||Rosie Winterton|
|Succeeded by||Angela Eagle|
|Secretary of State for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs
28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||David Miliband|
|Succeeded by||Caroline Spelman|
|Secretary of State for International Development|
6 October 2003 – 28 June 2007
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||The Baroness Amos|
|Succeeded by||Douglas Alexander|
|Member of Parliament
for Leeds Central
10 June 1999
|Preceded by||Derek Fatchett|
26 November 1953 |
Hammersmith, London, England
|Spouse(s)||Rosalind Caroline Retey (1973-1979)
Sally Christina Clark (1982-present) 
|Relations||Tony Benn (father)
|Children||Michael, James, Jonathan, Caroline|
|Alma mater||University of Sussex|
Hilary James Wedgwood Benn (born 26 November 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds Central since 1999. He served in the Cabinet as the Secretary of State for International Development from 2003 to 2007 and as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2007 to 2010. Currently, Benn is the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Born in Hammersmith, London, the second son of former Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn and educationalist Caroline Benn. Benn is a fourth generation MP - apart from his father, his grandfather Lord Stansgate, and his great grandfathers Sir John Benn and Daniel Holmes were all Members of Parliament, mostly with factions of the Liberal Party. He attended Norland Place School, Westminster Under School, Holland Park School and University of Sussex where he graduated in Russian and East European Studies. Benn has an older brother, Stephen, a younger sister Melissa and a younger brother, Joshua.
Member of Parliament
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (February 2011)|
On leaving university, Benn became a Research Officer with the ASTMS and rose to become Head of Policy for Manufacturing Science and Finance. In 1980 he was seconded to the Labour Party to act as Joint Secretary to the finance panel of the Labour Party Commission of Inquiry. In 1979 he was elected to the Ealing Borough Council where he was Deputy Leader from 1986 to 1990. He was the Labour candidate for Ealing North in both the 1983 general election and 1987 general election. On both occasions he was defeated by the Conservative candidate Harry Greenway.
When Labour won power in 1997, Benn was appointed Special Adviser to David Blunkett as Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In 1999 he was quickly selected as the Labour candidate for the Leeds Central by-election, 1999 following the death of Derek Fatchett. Benn won the by-election on 10 June 1999 on a very small turnout, by just over 2,000 votes. He made his maiden speech on 23 June 1999.
Hilary Benn has held the following positions:
- 2001-2002 - Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development
- 2002-2003 - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prisons & Probation
- 2003 - Minister of State at the Department for International Development
- 2003-2007 - Secretary of State for International Development
- 2007-2010 - Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bid for deputy leadership
Benn was the bookmakers' favourite for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party. The early polls in the Deputy Leadership contest showed him to be the grassroots' favourite - in a YouGov poll of party members, Benn was top on 27%, followed by Education Secretary Alan Johnson on 18%, Environment Secretary David Miliband on 17%, Justice Minister Harriet Harman on 10%, and Labour Party Chair Hazel Blears on 7%. The contest was formally launched on 14 May 2007 after the resignation of incumbent Deputy leader John Prescott, Benn had some initial difficulties securing the necessary 45 nominations required to get on the ballot paper but he acquired the support needed to join five other candidates - Hazel Blears, Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain and backbencher Jon Cruddas. Supporting nominations from constituency Labour Parties showed Hilary Benn obtaining 25%, Jon Cruddas 22%, Harriet Harman 19%, Alan Johnson 14%, Hazel Blears 12% and Peter Hain 8% of the constituency parties that voted. The Labour leadership contest closed on Sunday 24 June 2007 with Harriet Harman winning the contest. Benn was eliminated in the 3rd round of voting having reached a total of 22.33% of the votes. Harriet Harman was elected in the 5th round with 50.43% of the vote.
As Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, it was the responsibility of Hilary Benn to respond to the threat to UK cattle from Mycobacterium bovis, colloquially referred to as Bovine Tuberculosis (TB). The recommended option from the Chief Scientific Advisor until 2007, Sir David King, was a badger cull.
Was one of the practicalities that he envisaged that, in constituencies such as mine, with a densely populated centre surrounded by great swathes of countryside, it would be very difficult to undertake a cull and persuade people in the densely populated centre that that was the right thing to do?
Hilary Benn replied:
That was one factor that I was bound to take into account in reaching my decision, because there are strong views on all sides and public opinion can have an impact on the practicality of a cull. It was entirely legitimate for that to be one of the factors that I weighed up in my mind, but above all the decision has been taken as a result of the science.
In April 2010, a badger cull was announced in Wales, after the high court in Cardiff rejected a legal challenge from The Badger Trust.
Hilary Benn was picked out by several national newspapers as one of only three senior members of the Labour Party to have presented expenses beyond reproach. "When all Westminster MPs' total expenditures are ranked, Benn's bill is the 15th least expensive for the taxpayer," said The Guardian.
War on Waste
Relating to the huge amounts of food wasted (according to WRAP 33% of all food produced), Hilary Benn launched the "War on Waste" programme to reduce this amount. Whilst Benn proposed to scrap the "best before" date altogether, others proposed enhancing the validity date with other solutions such as time temperature indicators.
Benn briefly served as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010 during Harriet Harman's interim leadership of the Labour Party. In Ed Miliband's first Shadow Cabinet, announced on 8 October 2010, he was appointed Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. When Miliband reshuffled his team on 7 October 2011, he was named Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
In 1973, whilst at university, he married fellow student Rosalind Retey, who died of cancer at age 26 in 1979; Benn subsequently married Sally Christina Clark in 1982. He has four children, Michael, James, Jonathan and Caroline. He and his family live in Chiswick, West London.
Benn strongly resembles his father, Tony Benn, in his speaking style and delivery, but is a political centrist and was a New Labour loyalist. It is in this vein that he famously describes himself as "a Benn, but not a Bennite". Like his father, he is a teetotaller and a vegetarian.
- Benn, Anthony (1995). The Benn Diaries. (p25). Winstone, Ruth ed. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-1792231.
- "Blears 8/1 For Deputy Labour Leader". CasinoTimes.co.uk. Casino Times. 17 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Wells, Anthony (8 September 2006). "YouGov polls on the Labour leadership". UK Polling Report. Anthony Wells. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "Benn short of backers". BBC News Online. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- "Deputy hopefuls make their case". BBC News Online. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- "July 7, 2008". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 1165.
- Stratton, Allegra (8 May 2009). "Bargain Benn, modest Miliband (Ed, not David)". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
- Shields, Rachel (7 June 2009). "Kitchen bin war: tackling the food waste mountain". The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Benn, Anthony (1995). The Benn Diaries. (p476). Winstone, Ruth ed. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-1792231.
- Benn, Anthony (1995). The Benn Diaries. (p538). Winstone, Ruth ed. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-1792231.
- "Profile: Hilary Benn". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 24 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Ashley, Jackie (9 November 2006). "'I'm not a natural rebel'". The Guardian (London: Guardian News & Media). Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- HilaryBenn.org official constituency website
- Hilary Benn MP official Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) profile
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Close family, distant politics, Nicholas Watt, The Observer, 3 June 2007 interview with Benn and his father
- Adapting to Climate Change Rt Hon Hilary Benn, Royal Institute of British Architects, Gleeds TV, video
- Love Food, Hate Waste
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Leeds Central
The Baroness Amos
|Secretary of State for International Development
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
|Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government