Rhetoric in action: Hilary Benn MP

On 2nd December 2015, Hilary Benn MP made this speech to parliament.  He was closing the debate for the Opposition in a debate about extending current UK  bombing raids on ISIS into Syria.

The text of the speech is attached below.

It  is a remarkable speech, as evidenced by the spontaneous applause evident at the conclusion from all sides of the house.

It is not for me to comment on the politics of his defiance of his party leader.  I will use this speech to consider:

  • Genuinely relevant rhetoric to persuade and explain a position
  • The power of voice modulation in delivery and the importance of eye contact
  • The theatre of Parliamentary debate
  • The genuine bravery of speaking on one’s conscience
  • The possible further discussions around morality and “British Values”

Rhetoric Hilary Benn  Speech in full (from Hansard)

The whole speech video

BBC link to the speech  The closing 3 minutes (BBC)