Former Labour MP Tony Benn 'comfortable' in hospital

Tony Benn Tony Benn has been a leading figure on the left for over half a century

Tony Benn, the veteran left-wing campaigner and former cabinet minister, has been taken to hospital.

His spokesman said he was taken ill on Wednesday.

He is in a "comfortable" condition and his family have been visiting him, the spokesman added.

Mr Benn, 88, was a Labour MP for 50 years and challenged for the position of deputy leader in 1981. He was secretary of state for energy in James Callaghan's government.

He stood down from Parliament in 2001 and in recent years has been president of the Stop the War campaign as well as a popular public speaker.

BBC political correspondent Peter Henley said Mr Benn had cancelled an evening appearance on the Isle of Wight, adding he "hoped to be out" of hospital next week.

A spokesman for the Benn family said: "Tony Benn was taken into hospital on Wednesday afternoon on the advice of his GP after feeling unwell. He is resting comfortably."

He added that the Benn family had been "popping in and out" to see him.

Mr Benn's son, Hilary, is a Labour frontbencher.

Granddaughter Emily Benn stood unsuccessfully for the party in 2010.

Tony Benn's father, Willliam Wedgwood Benn, was a Liberal MP then Labour cabinet minister.

His wife Caroline died of cancer in 2000. They were married for more than 50 years.

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