I AM “a Benn, not a Bennite”, Hilary Benn famously declared when he fought the Leeds Central by-election that brought him to the Commons in 1999. He is, and he isn’t, as we soon learnt, with the son of Tony Benn going on to serve in the cabinets of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Jeremy Corbyn has always been the opposite – a Bennite, but not a Benn. Now supporters of the Labour leader are said to be ready to try to oust the former shadow foreign secretary from the Leeds Central seat he has occupied ever since he uttered his best epigram.
It looks like being a clash between two visions of the Labour Party – centre-left versus Corbynista, interventionist versus something close to pacifist – and one that has been brewing ever since Hilary stood in the House of Commons and delivered a soaring speech in favour of Britain launching air strikes on Syria last December.