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Hilary Benn speaks – University of York Labour Club event

Hilary_BennOn Friday 31st October, Hilary Benn, Shadow Communities and Local Government minister, MP for Leeds Central and Tony Benn’s son, came to talk to the University of Labour Club.

Benn started by introducing himself to everyone individually and asked the audience what they wanted to talk about. With no specific suggestions, he talked about devolution and local government and how these issues has been influenced by the Scottish referendum. This is particularly relevant to him because of his shadow post, which could possibly become a real post in May. Benn went on to talk about the financial crisis and related it to Leeds and his constituents, how he spent time defending the last Labour Government’s economic decisions after the 2008 banking crisis, and the elections in May – how tough the fight will be and sold the Labour Party (but that isn’t exactly surprising!)

After 10 minutes Benn went onto questions from the floor. He was asked about what should be taxed, economic growth and recovery, whether HS3 is the best way to spend transport budget and the best solution, increasing power of local government and increasing SNP support. He also discussed about electoral boundary reforms, Palestinian recognition and how to deal with the situation in Gaza to which he cited Northern Ireland as a success story, Labour’s position on the EU, London’s professional and economic imbalance and would this be addressed via devolution and HS2, lowering the voting age to 16 and compulsory voting and advice for young people who want to get into politics.

Some of the questions turned into a bit of a debate between Benn and members of the floor, but with the York Tories Committee in attendance that was a likely to occur. Benn tried to keep the audience engaged by taking opinions from the audience. The impressive turnout on Halloween proved that UYLC has hosted a successful event.