What was more important was the ability to explain to some of the more verkrampte members of South Africa’s political elite that they could not pretend that

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they were protecting southern Africa from communism. Every person in Africa knew that communism meant that people could live only where the authorities said they could live, that they could take only the jobs that the authorities said that they could take and that they did not have an effective vote. Why would any African, especially a black African, want to go communist? One answer, I suppose, is that the communists in South Africa were one of the groups that were fighting with Nelson Mandela to try to overturn the apartheid system.

The third person I want to mention who died this year was a man called Robin Plunket, the 8th baron Plunket. He followed David Stirling, who created the Special Air Service in 1941 and the Capricorn Africa Society in 1949. Robin Plunket, with his wife Jennifer, went on to support the society from this country before going out to Southern Rhodesia in, I think, 1957. For 50 years he developed employment in timber growing, milling and the like. His advice was important for many of our diplomats and Ministers. Such quiet people helped to establish a basis of trust that I hope will continue.

The last point that I want to make about Nelson Mandela—leaving aside the anecdotes about how lucky we were to meet him, rather than the other way around—is about democracy within the ANC. When Mandela’s successor was voted out of the party leadership by a democratic vote of the party, the person who succeeded him then waited until the presidential election to become President. As far as I know, the ANC is probably the only African political party in which that would happen. In a way, that type of democracy should be better known and more often copied.

On Europe’s responsibility, the tragedy for Africa, if our longest-standing ally does not mind me saying so, is that if the Portuguese had let go of their colonies in the 1960s, the French, Belgians and British might have done better. Countries from central Africa down to South Africa might not all have been western-style democracies, but they would have been much more western-leaning and much more tolerant of people in their own midst, and economic development would have been greater.

I almost started by mentioning Trevor Huddleston, and I end with his “Prayer for Africa”:

“God Bless Africa;

Guard her children;

Guide her leaders

And give her peace.”

5.28 pm

Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): For an exhibition that it was planning to mount, the National Portrait Gallery asked me to nominate the three greatest figures of the 20th century and the reasons why. I nominated Winston Churchill for saving this country in the second world war, Mikhail Gorbachev for ending the cold war and Nelson Mandela for being Nelson Mandela.

The first time I met Nelson Mandela was when he visited Sweden after he had been released from prison. He said that Sweden was the country that had done most to help him be released, so he visited it first. It gave a grand state dinner, to which Neil Kinnock, as leader of the Labour party, and I as shadow Foreign

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Secretary were invited. The next day, Neil and I organised a private lunch for Nelson Mandela and his wife and friends.

Not long before that, during the first session of Prime Minister’s Question Time after Mandela’s release from prison—he was released on a Sunday, and in those days we had Prime Minister’s questions on Tuesdays—my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Dame Joan Ruddock) rose and started her question with the words, to Margaret Thatcher,

“If the Prime Minister had just spent 27 years in prison”.—[Official Report, 13 February 1990; Vol. 167, c. 140.]

I was sitting on the Front Bench, and I murmured to Roy Hattersley, “As she should.” The microphones caught my remark, and the entire House heard it. On the Conservative side, not surprisingly, there was extremely loud outrage. On our side, there were the best cheers I think I have ever had in the House of Commons.

At the lunch in Stockholm, when we were being introduced to our guests, Oliver Tambo’s wife came up to me and said, “You are the man who said that Margaret Thatcher should be in prison for 27 years.” At the end of the room was Winnie Mandela, and when Winnie heard that, she rushed over to me, hugged me, and said, “You are the man! You are the man!” As a result of that, Nelson Mandela very kindly gave me the following inscription:

“To Gorton Labour Party, with our comradely compliments and best wishes, Nelson Mandela”.

Apart from all his other virtues, he had the most beautiful handwriting. Added to that inscription was:

“Thank you for your solidarity.

Much love

Winnie Mandela”.

That remained on the wall of Gorton Labour club for many years, until Winnie became renowned not so much for hugging as for putting burning tyres around the necks of her opponents, and it was taken down. It is on the wall in my house now.

At the lunch, Neil Kinnock asked Nelson Mandela about the visit to South Africa by a rebel English cricket team. There was a sporting and an entertainment boycott of South Africa at the time, but a group of very well-known English cricketers went there to play. Neil asked Nelson Mandela, “What do you think of the English cricketers who are in South Africa now?” Nelson Mandela said, “I admire them.” Neil said, “What? You admire them? Why? How can you?” Nelson Mandela said, “Because they are very brave. They knew before they came that there would be demonstrations outside the cricket grounds because they were there and breaking the boycott, and they came all the same.”

Somewhat later, when I was lunching with Nelson Mandela, I asked him—among a number of other things—what he had learnt in prison. He said that one of the things that had kept him going had been reading the memoirs of Menachem Begin, who started out as a terrorist—which Mandela did not—but became Prime Minister of Israel and made peace with Egypt. He was the last Prime Minister of Israel to make peace with anyone. I asked, “What did you learn from Menachem Begin’s memoirs?” He said, “Menachem Begin was in prison for a long time, and his book said that the most important thing to do if you were in prison was to

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sustain your values.” I do not think that Nelson Mandela needed to be taught that lesson, but—as has been said so widely in the House this afternoon—he certainly did sustain his values. He never, never, never took revenge of any kind. That was not because he was a softie. He was a tough man—you cannot get through 27 years in prison without being a tough man. But what he knew was that you can solve a huge political problem by being generous, forthcoming and reconciling, and that is what he did.

When I was shadow Foreign Secretary, I visited South Africa, then under apartheid, as a guest of the South African Council of Churches. I met Africans and I visited the townships, and I was followed wherever I went by the South African secret police. At a lunch in Durban with leading people, including Mbeki, I said, “I hope you’re not going to pick up the worst of the apartheid regime, and that you will be better than the apartheid regime ever could be when you, as you will, eventually achieve power in South Africa. In particular, I hope that you will not keep the death penalty, and that you will have liberal judicial policies.” Under Mandela, they did that, and it is hugely to the credit of Mandela and the ANC.

Too many other countries that have gained their freedom have nevertheless imposed penalties of the worst kind on their opponents. They were not saints who took over in South Africa, but they were good, sensible politicians, who knew that the best way of winning is by reconciling. That came so much from Mandela. His autobiography, “The Long Walk to Freedom”—I reviewed it and was proud to have my name on the dust cover—was written by him, not ghosted, and his personality comes out from every page. It said that people should be realistic and sensible in their politics and, at the same time, be forgiving and reconciliatory. We shall not see his like again.

5.38 pm

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today and to follow some extraordinarily powerful tributes from across the House.

Like many of my generation, it is no exaggeration for me to say that my political consciousness was framed against the backdrop of the fight against apartheid and the collapse of the cold war and the structures that it propped up. For the previous generation, it was perhaps the second world war and for some the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. But for me and many others in the Chamber, our political consciousnesses were awakened by the struggle to free Mandela and the tsunami of freedom from an age of cold war repression for which it served as a trumpet call around the globe.

I do not want in any way to claim or suggest that I was a leading light on the barricades of the 1980s—far from it—but I remember my first mini campaign in school. Like generations of morally indignant sixth-formers before me, I was smarting against all forms of lazy privilege, and I remember blasting out “Free Nelson Mandela” at the South African cricket team visiting my school from some speakers that I had erected on the clock tower for that purpose. My teachers did not share my enthusiasm, but I was glad to have done a little for the cause. It seemed to me that sports sanctions would be a way to put pressure on the regime without harming the most vulnerable in that country. I remember well the

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looks on the faces of those privileged young cricketers from one of South Africa’s elite public schools—confusion, anger, resentment and a little shame. It was a heady taste for me of what politics can do.

Three years later I graduated from university and saw, as we all did, his release in 1990, and was struck, after a lifetime behind bars, by the quiet dignity of his freedom, not determined for revenge, but eager for reconciliation. I also watched, rather sadly, as the party of which I am now proud to be a member found itself on the wrong side of that history and unable fully to grasp the scale of the yearning for new freedoms that followed the cold war certainties that had so shaped it—a misjudgment that I am pleased the now Prime Minister went out of his way to correct on becoming leader.

The next year I went to see South Africa for myself, hitch-hiking from Kenya to Cape Town, a 5,000-mile trip on which I was lucky enough to see that great continent in all its beauty, simplicity—then, poverty—and to see, in many impromptu games of football with groups of young African children, the love of sport, which Mandela was later to harness to such extraordinary effect.

When I arrived in Cape Town I was lucky enough to meet the grandson of a former Prime Minister of South Africa, the young Bool Smuts. I had the extraordinary experience of being taken back to the Smuts family homestead in the Drakensberg mountains, standing with Bool and seeing the homestead and Voortrekker Bible, and visiting with his brothers the local Afrikaans rugby club, where I entered into what can only be described as ambitious banter, as a young Englishmen, with those from a culture that I did not understand. I remember well the intensity—nay, the ferocity—of their belief in their way of life, and I remember reflecting later that if only the vastly more numerous Anglo or English South African white population had had the similar moral intensity to speak for their own convictions, the drama that was the late collapse of South African apartheid might have been avoided.

I remember very clearly my last three lifts one day on my way out of South Africa as they seemed to capture the story of that land: a priest, rather early in the morning and rather the worse for wear, taking Bibles up to Zambia; a young black business man in a suit and tie wanting peace and prosperity for his family and to build a career, representing the force of an aspirational, moderate black progressive middle-class that is today having such an effect across sub-Saharan Africa; and, my last and most shocking lift, a fully paid-up member of the AWB, a farmer in a pick-up truck, who at the end of our two-hour journey lifted the bench-chair of his pick-up and showed me the guns with which he promised he would fight for what he saw as his freedom, saying, “Boy, when they come for me, they’ll take me out dead.”

I left a country on the brink of civil war, with cities poised to convulse in violence, and it was evident to me then that the triumph of Mandela was the stuff not of Hollywood and red carpet leadership, as it can sometimes seem in retrospect, but of the brutal realities of township politics, because Mandela was, above all, a politician, answering the ultimate test of leadership: how to heal a broken nation, how to avoid civil war, how to unite a deeply divided set of peoples.

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I saw during my visit that South Africa did not just require symbolism, however valuable that was; it also needed statesmanship, and few other than Mandela could have fulfilled what history demanded of him at that time. Who can forget the sight of him dressed in that Springbok rugby top cheering the South African rugby world cup success, healing a nation and resetting it towards the path of a better future? Having seen for myself the intensity of the association between the Boer culture, rugby and apartheid, it was a stunning act of generous reconciliation. For me it marked a personal end-point, from demonstrating at the departing all-white schoolboy cricket team, to visiting the Afrikaans rugby club, to watching him clad in green that day, I could see the power of reconciliation work its magic through the medium of sport. Rugby, once a symbol of division, was now a symbol of unity, an iconic image for South Africa, for sport and for the world. And we can all remember his historic decision to stand down from the presidency after one term, a single action which spoke more than any words.

In an age of disillusionment with politics, when voters in this country and elsewhere all too often unite in distrust of the political process, Mandela stands out as a shining example to us all of what we can aspire to: a politics not of tit-for-tat, back-stabbing, plotting and skulduggery, but of statesmanship, empathy, hope and vision, and most of all a statesmanship and politics founded on the quality Aristotle called “ethos”, which is what we define as character, and in him was a duty to people, place and country before party.

Few figures light up an age as Mandela did. His courage, his courtesy and his character must remind us of what politics can achieve. Let us, as parliamentarians, all be inspired by his example.

5.44 pm

Mr David Lammy (Tottenham) (Lab): I am sure all hon. Members will understand the emotion of an eight-year-old or nine-year-old child growing up in what feels like a very local or parochial context, be it in a village, a town, a hamlet or a street in a constituency such as mine. Having listened to this afternoon’s debate, I want to begin by reflecting on young people during the late-1960s, 1970s and 1980s growing up in places such as Tottenham, Brixton, Handsworth in Birmingham, Chapeltown in Leeds and St Paul’s in Bristol. It is sometimes dislocating when you arrive in a country and you are the child of immigrants. Thinking back to the 1970s and 1980s, I hope that all hon. Members will recognise the difficulty felt by many young people, particularly young boys from West Indian backgrounds, the challenges we were having with the police and the huge challenges that this country was having with throwing up role models we could land on and aspire to—we still have that debate in this House today.

As one of those young people, who was also growing up in the context of not having a father in my house—broken, to some extent, by two successive recessions and some of the discrimination of that age, he left us when I was 12—I am truly grateful for the role model that was Nelson Mandela. For me and so many like me, he provided a tremendous dignity and courage, which perhaps was the reason why during the very difficult

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1980s we did not pick up Molotov cocktails and cause chaos on our own streets—we chose another path. He was that role model: as an articulate lawyer; as a freedom fighter; as a prisoner—it is important to land on that period in prison, because none of us knew what he looked like and he was just that image of a boxer that we had to hold on to; as a man who walks out of prison so many years later, with grey hair and his wife; as a politician; as a leader; and as an elder statesman. Like so many others becoming aware of our own context, I could have felt very small in that context, in the face of poverty and sometimes discrimination, but he and so many others helped me to feel very large and very big.

I am truly grateful to have been born and raised in, and to represent a seat in, the London borough of Haringey. Haringey was one of the centres in London of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. We are very proud of a house on Windermere road—the house of Oliver Tambo and the house where Mbeki came and stayed. It is a house now owned by the South African Government, because it is so important to them. It was an enclave for many who surreptitiously campaigned, found money and supported what was originally an underground movement that was moving to be an overground movement.

It would be remiss of me if I did not pay tribute to my predecessor, Bernie Grant, who endlessly, and unpopularly at the time, campaigned consistently, first as a local councillor in Haringey, then as the leader of Haringey council and then in this place, for Nelson Mandela’s freedom. He was hugely proud to be with Jesse Jackson in 1990 when Mandela walked out of prison.

I am also grateful to Mike Terry, who led the Anti-Apartheid Movement from the London borough of Haringey—he was a teacher at Alexandra Park secondary school at the time—and to many others in this Chamber. As teenagers, we would all have been aware of the work of my right hon. Friends the Members for Neath (Mr Hain), for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson) and of Richard Caborn, the former Member for Sheffield Central, all of whom pushed the cause on behalf of many others.

This is not a time for rancour. It is hugely important to be inspired by the manner in which Nelson Mandela conducted himself. A word that has often been lost in the context of these times is “solidarity”. Who will stand with me even though they are different from me? I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement long before I joined the Labour party. I joined it to stand with others who looked like me, but who were experiencing the most pernicious discrimination and nastiness across the world. I proudly boycotted Barclays bank, Cape apples, avocados and a whole stream of other things to join in that solidarity. I was incensed when Mike Gatting took a team to South Africa to play cricket because of the brutality that I saw in front of my eyes.

We have arrived now at a different place, and that is why, for me, Nelson Mandela is the seminal figure of the 20th century. If the story of the 20th century can be summed up in one word, that word must be “freedom”. I am talking about the freedom for people to be who they want to be in their own lifetime. We take it for granted that in that century, women could not be who they wanted to be and working people could not always be who they wanted to be, whatever the colour of their skin. The same goes for black people and people of colour. More recently, we have faced those battles on

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behalf of gay men and women. That is the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Perhaps he has that legacy because, unlike Martin Luther King, Gandhi and, before them, Abraham Lincoln, he was not shot and killed. Yes, he was in prison for 27 years, but I think that Members will recognise that in making it to 95, he was free for more years than some of us will be on this planet. That is a great thing. He was a great man whom we will remember and whom history will remember.

When we think of Mandela, it is also important that we do not forget those other young men and women from countries such as India, Nigeria, Guyana, where my parents are from, Jamaica and so many other places who were fighting against a colonial power that effectively took the view that a small minority can govern a majority. It may not have been as pernicious and nasty as what we saw on our screens in the 1970s and 1980s, but sometimes it was. Mandela sits with those other figures such as Nyerere, Kenyatta and others who fought for liberation. That is why he meant so much in my small house in Tottenham.

5.54 pm

Sir Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden) (Con): I beg the indulgence of the House, as I have not been able to be present for the entirety of the proceedings. As chair of the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, I should like to put some words on the record.

I will not claim the eloquence of some of the speeches that have been made in the House today. I cannot claim the intimacy of knowledge and companionship with the late Nelson Mandela, which many in this House have been able to explain, nor can I boast that I have been at all times as resolute and as staunch an opponent of apartheid as many colleagues present in the House today.

I first went to South Africa, particularly Cape Town and Johannesburg, on company business in my first job in 1962. If I had not been aware, as an embryo politician, of the wickedness of the apartheid system, it was really brought home to me then. I saw the evil and rottenness of it all, and was able to speak thereafter with more passion about those matters.

Ten years later, in 1972, I was with a CPA delegation that was moving through South Africa from St Helena to a conference in Malawi. There had been the so-called easing of restrictions, which seemed to do no more than underline the hypocrisy of the whole system. I did not return again to South Africa until after the miracle that Nelson Mandela helped to achieve and inspired.

For many years, I gloomily thought, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) said, that the whole thing could only end in bloodshed. It is the most fundamental tribute to Nelson Mandela that the force of his personality ensured that it did not end in such a way. The whole world, not just those in South Africa, should be grateful not just for that, but for the signposting of a way forward out of conflicts, which other countries in the world still have to learn.

Nelson Mandela took the most remarkable actions. Compassion, courage and leadership are words that will be used over and again. They may be overworked in this debate, but why should they not be, given what he managed to achieve and the inspiration he gave to his

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fellow countrymen. We hope that that will be repeated again and again from generation to generation because there is such a long way to go in South Africa to sustain the turnaround that Nelson Mandela achieved.

I was back in South Africa a few months ago, as chair of the whole CPA, for the CPA’s 59th conference, which was hosted by the South African Parliament. It is a strong, democratic Parliament, and one of the leading players in the Commonwealth constellation. I thought how far we had come from what I had first seen in 1962. The strong parliamentary traditions that are being observed in South Africa—they are probably not perfect, but we do not think our systems are entirely perfect—are the proper bases of parliamentary democracy. Again, that is down to the inspiration of Nelson Mandela. I hope that that will be repeated again and again and will inspire generations of South Africans to respect the parliamentary institutions, which, if properly applied, can lead to the fulfilment of the wishes of the ordinary people of South Africa.

To my mind, Nelson Mandela is one of the most amazing men to have trod the planet. So many evil people in history have been seen as giants, ogres or whatever, mainly because they have been bad men. It is to be hoped that this very good man will be remembered for ever, that his shadow will be cast forward and that everyone in the future, particularly in South Africa but on a wider basis too, will bathe in that shadow and realise what it is that makes a good politician, makes a statesman and makes a humanitarian of the highest order.

Mr Speaker: I am extremely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman.

6 pm

Mr Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) (Lab): I do not wish to detain the House long, but I thought I ought to say a few words.

In the 1960s, I, like many young men, saw the events in South Africa on television and in newspapers now and again and felt, as most people did, that that country was split on racial lines—indeed, other countries were split on racial lines as well.

I did not really understand what was happening in South Africa until in 1975 I left my small mining community and went to Ruskin college in Oxford. The college had a Kitson committee, named after David Kitson, who was one of the prisoners in South Africa at the time. He had been born in South Africa and had been over here working in industry for a while. He went to Ruskin on a trade union scholarship and was in jail in South Africa. I went to the first meeting of the Kitson committee and ended up being active in it later on. One of my fellow students told us about her life and her journey. She was from South Africa and had come out of South Africa in the boot of a car. She told us what apartheid was—it was not just segregation between white and blacks, but segregation over several areas. She said that she fitted into one of what were called the “Cape Coloureds” categories. She also said that she and her brother were at different schools. They lived with their family in their house, but they were at schools that were next to each other and when they used to share their sandwiches through the school railings they were shouted at by the pupils for mixing with the students in the school next door. Her brother was her twin brother.

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They had been born within minutes of one another and apartheid had segregated them because that was how the system worked. I could not understand how anybody anywhere could do that to anybody and I became active in anti-apartheid for many years. I remember Mike Terry very well and Charlotte street, as we used to go up there quite a lot, and I was active in the trade union movement, too. Her name was Rita Taberner, and she said something that has stayed with me all my life: how could politicians and Governments do such things to their own people? It is extraordinary that that could happen.

I have two other reflections, and the first is about when Mandela came out of prison. It was a Sunday—I remember it well. I had just left the Leader of the Opposition’s office, but I phoned him up and he was watching it, too. We could not believe what we were seeing. It was a bit like the Berlin wall. I never thought I would ever see the Berlin wall come down or that apartheid would end. Those were the two things in my politics of the ’60s and ’70s that I thought were there for life, and to see that happening was extraordinary. Of course, that was no easy journey for Nelson Mandela. He was dealing with the tensions in the ANC between where he wanted to go and where other members of the ANC wanted to go. Some did not think that that was the way forward; I understand that peace and reconciliation was his brainchild and that he had to fight hard for it to work. Many of us thought that it would end up in a bloodbath in South Africa—after my experience of 1975, I would not have been at all surprised if that had been the case. That was the level of the man and the people around him who wanted to go that way for South Africa and its people.

My other memory is from when Mandela spoke in Westminster Hall. One of your predecessors, Mr Speaker, Baroness Boothroyd—who is in the other place now—walked down the steps with him. She remembered that she had been part of the British black sash movement who used to stand outside South Africa house wearing black sashes, just as women in South Africa used to stand in Pretoria and other places wearing black sashes to complain against the regime, and she never thought that she would see such a speech happening.

Nelson Mandela was a giant of a man and the world has much to learn from what he did. We will have to wait to see whether the world is capable of doing that, but I wanted to pay my tribute to somebody who shaped my politics even though I was thousands of miles away.

6.5 pm

Mr Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) (Con): I cannot compete with some of the moving and absolutely amazing stories of personal interaction with Nelson Mandela that we have heard today. I met him only once, along with 5,000 other people, in Trafalgar square in November 2010. His speech was as electrifying as the shirt he was wearing. I knew that I was in the presence of an exceptional human being and I am simply one of the millions who was moved and encouraged by his story of fortitude as he attempted to change the world around him—and succeeded in that attempt—which we have heard expressed so passionately by the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy). I am grateful to

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you, Mr Speaker, and I am sure that the House is too, for interrupting our normal proceedings to pay tribute to the life of an incredible man. He stands head and shoulders above any other in shaping and influencing our modern world.

Some might say that Nelson Mandela was destined to lead. First, coming from a family with heritage and influence, he was politically motivated from an early age, studying law, opening the first black law firm in South Africa and focusing on human rights. That background, coupled with his unique style of leadership, convinced his peer group that he was worth supporting in the fight against apartheid. He displayed a rare combination of determination, humility and integrity, willing to engage with the hotel porter he met in passing with the same energy and enthusiasm as with the VIP guest he had arranged to meet. To put it simply, he had enormous personal presence, not just because of his rank or appointment but because of his infectious smile, his provoking message and his tenacity and endurance in thinking that good would triumph in the end.

His political activities saw him tried and imprisoned for 27 years. Who would have thought that just four years after his release apartheid would be over and Nelson Mandela would be President? As many others have, I visited Robben Island off Cape Town and peered through the bars of Nelson Mandela’s cell. It is very hard to imagine anyone emerging from such an experience without feeling embittered towards their captors, so it was with some apprehension that South Africa, and the world, waited to see what Nelson Mandela would do with his power as President and where the country would go. He continued, after all, to have strong ties with Russia and the South African Communist party. Such was his popularity that he had almost a free mandate to take South Africa in any direction he chose.

I recall Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. I was president of Loughborough student union at the time and I must confess that that was an academic establishment that was as yet unknown as a cauldron of simmering political activity. I recall that the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg) was the president of the National Union of Students at the time and we conversed on many occasions. We debated a motion at Loughborough students union to change the name of the union building to the “Nelson Mandela building”—something that many other universities had already done. At Loughborough, perhaps unwisely, the motion was defeated, because although Nelson Mandela’s cause was very much supported, students were not sure where he would take South Africa, bearing in mind the fact that the ANC still had an extremist wing. It is perhaps that second significant chapter of his life, evolving from a campaigner to a statesman, that distinguishes him from many others who have liberated their country, then taken the reins of power. Perhaps the best and saddest example is Robert Mugabe, not far away in Africa, who not only failed to endorse any system of democracy but continues corrupt practices to retain power, as well as encouraging racial division and, indeed, hatred of Britain, the former colonial power.

Nelson Mandela’s ability to face down hardliners in his own party and convince a sceptical white community helped South Africa to re-engage with the world community. In government, he proved to be pragmatic and even-handed, taking time to look at and, indeed, learn from a number

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of models of government, and working with de Klerk, who had his own task of winning over people with extremist views if civil war was to be avoided. How different things might be, for example, had Mandela not supported the freedom of the press or an independent judiciary. Establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a stroke of genius—a concept that has been copied, but not used as successfully, in countries attempting to heal the wounds of division.

Most astonishingly, as has been said by hon. Members, Mandela stood for only one term—perhaps a lesson for us all in recognising our sell-by date. Interestingly, such was his ability to reach across divides, even in death his work continues. Attending the memorial service alongside obvious leaders such as the Prime Minister and President Obama will be President Castro of Cuba and the new Iranian President Rouhani. Who knows what diplomatic developments might result from an imaginative seating plan?

There are difficult questions for the ANC now that it has lost its iconic figurehead, and it must ensure that South Africa’s multiracial free-market democracy can flourish. Those are questions, however, for another day, and Britain’s involvement in that is for another day too. Today and this week are about saying goodbye to a man who survived and defeated apartheid, and united a country. Sadly—and this applies only to a minority—some people have questioned why in this country so much attention has been given to Nelson Mandela’s death. A small but arguably growing slice of our society takes for granted the leadership and sacrifices that he and others closer to home have made. I pondered that very point this weekend, as on television tributes to Nelson Mandela contrasted with reality TV shows on which household names are engineered.

That raises awkward questions for us in the House, as some members of the younger generation know more about James Arthur, perhaps not the best role model, than leaders who triumphed over adversity to give us the very freedoms that we could be in danger of taking for granted. Thankfully, many people of our generation have been inspired by Nelson Mandela and others to recognise how their own high profile can be used to shape a better world. AIDS awareness is a clear example of that. Rightly, they will take their seat alongside world statesmen at the funeral this week.

I am pleased that the House can pay tribute to Nelson Mandela today. We cannot match the wonderful poetry, the song and the colour that we have seen on our screens displayed by the people of South Africa as they remember the architect of their country. As we consider Nelson Mandela’s legacy I hope that we all recognise, learn and gain inspiration from one individual who became a global symbol of tolerance in standing against injustice, regardless of the odds.

6.14 pm

Mr Elfyn Llwyd (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC): I regret the fact that I never had the privilege and honour of meeting Nelson Mandela personally although, as with everyone else in the Chamber, his life touched my and my constituents’ lives very deeply.

I knew about the awful phenomenon of apartheid when I was at school—we all knew about it vaguely—but it was not until I went to university in 1970 that I became truly aware of the depth of disgust for it. Together with

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opposition to the Vietnam war, it occupied me and many others in a Welsh university known as a hotbed of Welsh nationalism. However, we had outside interests, and those were two of them. Yes, I am proud that there is a Mandela building at Aberystwyth university.

There have been many fine tributes today. It is not my job to go through them, but they are all heartfelt and sincere. Something that occurs when someone of the stature of the late President Mandela passes away is a scramble for superlatives. Sometimes that is tiresome, because superlatives do not always fit. In this case, the superlatives all fit, because his life was beyond comparison so, by definition, superlatives apply. I believe, like many people in the Chamber and throughout Britain, Europe and the world, that he was the greatest statesman of the last century. To spend 27 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement, with no contact with the outside world, and on release not to have any rancour, still less hatred or vengeance, is truly remarkable. Like the right hon. Members for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson) and for Rother Valley (Mr Barron), I was in the audience in 1996 when the President addressed both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall. He made a memorable and moving speech, typically fitting for the occasion, honest and completely down to earth. In many ways, he showed humility and strength of character beyond reproach, and I will always remember that day.

We gather today to thank Nelson Mandela for the many sacrifices that he endured, for showing the way to reconciliation and peace, against massive and seemingly insurmountable odds. It has been said, and I believe it to be right—I referred to the use of superlatives—that he was a colossus of history. I believe that he will continue to inspire millions of people for many years to come, and rightly so. There have been many quotations today from many wonderful speeches that he made down the years. May I remind the Chamber that he also said that there will never be world peace without a resolution of the Palestinian conflict? Perhaps the greatest tribute that we can pay him is to redouble our efforts to achieve that in his glorious memory.

6.18 pm

Richard Ottaway (Croydon South) (Con): Like the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd), I am moved to contribute because of my abiding memory of that glorious afternoon in 1996 when Nelson Mandela addressed both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall, and of a tremendous speech by Baroness Boothroyd. If I recall rightly, Barack Obama said that Mandela’s speech was a very hard act to follow indeed.

If you visit Robben Island, Mr Speaker, and see that tiny cell you realise how Nelson Mandela is—and I mean “is”—a shining beacon to people across the world suffering the humiliation and brutality of repressive regimes. Neither 27 long years in prison nor the shackles of an unashamedly racist political system prevented him from making not just his corner of the world but the whole world a better place. He was a great leader, an intuitive politician and one of the outstanding figures of modern time.

Owing to the hour, I make just one further point. Mandela forgave the unforgivable. His passing will serve to remind us all that fairness, logic, perseverance and forgiveness can overcome prejudice and the darkest aspects of human nature. As the Chairman of the

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Foreign Affairs Committee, I look at tensions in Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria, and conflicts throughout Africa. That perseverance and forgiveness is a lesson that a troubled world should never forget.

6.20 pm

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): It is a privilege to speak in this debate. I will try to be brief because so many brilliant contributions have been made today by people who fought the good fight to try to rid the world of the scourge of apartheid.

I want us to recall the many people who died in South Africa fighting against apartheid, from those who were discriminated against from 1948 onwards, when the National party won the election, to the massacre at Sharpeville, the riots in Soweto, the killing of schoolchildren and the murder of Steve Biko and so many others who died, often completely ignored and forgotten. We should also recall the poverty of the black majority population in South Africa—a poverty inherited from colonialism, a poverty arising from work in the mines and so many other places, a poverty of children going to school where there was no water, no electricity, no books and very little else, and unbelievable discrimination in employment, land ownership and everything else. It was a system of dividing people on racial grounds that the Nazis would have been proud of. The idea that there would be some sort of accommodation with apartheid was something that many of us found anathema.

It was not as though the evil of apartheid extended only to the country of South Africa. It extended to the neighbouring states and greatly influenced the white supremacist regime in Rhodesia led by Ian Smith. It also included the war in Namibia—South West Africa, as it was then called—and it spread over into the problems faced by all the front-line states during the apartheid era because of their wish to impose sanctions on South Africa. It also spread over into Angola. The war in Angola was one of the turning points in the defeat of apartheid. Let us remember that it was the South African defence forces that went to the aid of another minority regime in Angola, and they were finally defeated in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988. Those were the significant changes that brought about a political reckoning in South Africa.

Those around the world who would recognise only the ANC and would not recognise the Government of South Africa are the ones we should also remember today—those people all around the world who took part in meetings, marches and demonstrations, and many Governments who bravely stood against the apartheid regime when it was in their economic interests to go in absolutely the opposite direction. There are therefore some very strong lessons for all of us to learn during our remembrance of Nelson Mandela.

The personality of Mandela was an extraordinary one. I was asked a question when I was visiting Holloway school last Friday morning and went into a history lesson. There was a discussion about the civil rights movement in the USA, the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain and of course the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. The students asked me whether Mandela would have been a better or worse president if he had never gone to prison. It is an impossible question to

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answer. All I could say was that I remember distinctly my mother telling me how evil the Rivonia treason trial and the Sharpeville massacre were, and how wrong it was that Mandela and all the others went to prison. In their suffering they obviously read and learned a great deal. In his final unconditional release from prison—it is very important to remember that it was an unconditional release from prison; he was offered all sorts of get out of jail cards many years beforehand—he displayed such amazing magnanimity.

I recall that when Mandela came here to Parliament shortly after his release—he was not President of South Africa at that time—there were Conservative MPs who wanted the meeting banned. There were people who said no MP should attend it. There were people who said that he was a terrorist. There were people who said that people like him should not be allowed into Parliament, but I remember the very good discussion that was held here. My right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson) was there, as were Richard Caborn, chair of the anti-apartheid group, Bob Hughes, Tony Benn and many others. We had a truly fascinating discussion with a very great man who was forming his ideas of how he would lead a post-apartheid, multiracial, rainbow nation of South Africa.

I want to conclude with some thoughts about the people who were in prison with Mandela and also suffered a great deal. My constituency, Islington North, is a place where many people have sought refuge at various times and have been welcomed. I was very proud that David Kitson, one of those imprisoned with Mandela, lived in my constituency for a long time. Denis Goldberg, who was also in prison with Mandela, lived nearby and ran a bookshop for a charity called Community HEART which still exists, collecting books to be sent to schools in South Africa. We also housed the offices of the British defence and aid fund for victims of apartheid. I was a trustee of that, with the great Ethel de Keyser and others. We were able to fund education for victims of apartheid and do our bit to try to help the next generation of African leaders who had been born in the front-line states in exile camps to get some kind of university education. Many people did incredible work in that regard.

My local authority, Islington borough council, declared itself an apartheid-free zone. This was not universally welcomed by the Evening Standard, the Conservative Government or many others. In saying that, I look at my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn). Many of us who were involved in local government or as Members of Parliament during the 1970 and 1980s did our bit. Okay, it might be said that it is gesture politics to name a street Mandela street or to name your student union building the Nelson Mandela building, but in that act you are showing which side you are on in the battle against apartheid. When we were being condemned by the media at that time, I always thought, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for they know not what they do.” Now they are all agreeing with us, as unfortunately they were unable to do at that time. Many of those who stood up then were in advance of others.

We also housed in my borough the offices of the African National Congress at Penton street. That building was under the most massive surveillance from the Metropolitan police, the South African secret service and every other secret service one could imagine. Indeed,

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the Anti-Apartheid Movement was infiltrated. The ANC offices were infiltrated. There were some ghastly goings-on in London via the long reach of the South African secret service. Also under surveillance and questioning were the offices of the South West Africa People’s Organisation, SWAPO, which had its offices in Gillespie road in my constituency.

A number of parliamentary colleagues of mine, including the late great Tony Banks and Stuart Holland, a former Member, and I were arrested outside South Africa house. It was one of those strange moments when you are arrested by the police and you say, “On what charge am I arrested?”, assuming that one is going be told that one is creating an obstruction or some such charge. The police said no, it was under the Diplomatic Immunities Act, for behaviour that was offensive to a foreign diplomatic mission. The police officer asked me, “What do you plead? Why have you come here?”. I said, “I’ve come here to be as offensive as possible to the South African apartheid regime, but I offer no plea, so you will have to offer a plea of not guilty on my part.” The cases all went to court and we were all exonerated on the grounds of our moral outrage at apartheid and all given compensation, and all that compensation was given to the ANC and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Some things do come full circle in the end.

Finally, in thanking so many people for all their work in the Anti-Apartheid Movement I must mention my friend the late great Bernie Grant, who went to South Africa to witness the release of Nelson Mandela. When he returned, Margaret Thatcher invited him to Downing street to discuss what he thought about it all—it must have been a pretty surreal moment for both of them. I hope that a record of the meeting was kept, but I imagine that its release is subject to the 100-year rule, or perhaps a million-year rule. I can well imagine what Bernie would have said, but I am not sure about the leaderene.

There are lessons to be learned from all that, so I will conclude with the following thoughts. After his release, Mandela of course became President of South Africa and did enormous and wonderful work, but poverty has not been conquered there. There are still children who need better schools and people who need homes, electricity and water, as Denis Goldberg reminded us at a Community HEART fundraiser. But Mandela also had things to say about other issues around the world. He was deeply concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people and sent them messages of support, not because he wanted the conflict to continue but because he wanted it to end.

Another of Mandela’s great legacies was to say, as President, that he did not wish to preside over a Government who had nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. He took South Africa out of the nuclear equation, thus enabling Africa to become a nuclear weapons-free continent. There are many lessons we can learn from that. In Nelson’s memory, let us change things a bit here. That will make for a better, safer and more peaceful world.

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker: Order. We have already heard some magnificent tributes of great power and passion. It might be helpful to the House if I tell colleagues that approximately 40 right hon. and hon. Member are still seeking to catch my eye. I am keen for everyone who

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wants to speak to have the chance to do so, but as things stand the Chair was anticipating the Front Bench winding-up speeches starting a little after half-past 9. That might serve to concentrate the minds of colleagues, who I know will be considerate to each other. I do not want to impose a formal time limit, because I think that this is an occasion when self-restraint is a better guide, on which theme I look in the direction of the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Martin Horwood).

6.31 pm

Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) (LD): I hesitate to rise and echo the tributes of so many eloquent speakers. I think that the one contribution Mandela made that has not yet been mentioned was his founding, in retirement, of the global group The Elders, along with his wife Graça Machel, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan and others, at a time when surely he had earned the right to put his feet up and spend more time with his family. He was a truly extraordinary man.

I am also slightly daunted, because I think that this is the first time in a parliamentary debate that I have followed three leaders of my party. Honourable mention should also be made of one of their predecessors in particular, David Steel, who was president of the Anti-Apartheid Movement before becoming leader of the Liberal party. I am not sure whether he would ever admit to having been inspired by the example of the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr Hain) when he was in the National League of Young Liberals—it is a shame that he is no longer in his place, because I mean this as a compliment—but the flame that burnt brightly in the movement in his era was still pretty bright a generation later, when I was very proud, as chair of the Union of Liberal Students, to invite Donald Woods to be that year’s keynote conference speaker.

Donald Woods was an anti-apartheid activist and a banned journalist who helped, along with Helen Zille of the RandDaily Mail, to expose to the world the murder of Steve Biko, which of course denied South Africa another potential great leader. That is a salutary lesson about how many people lost their lives in the struggle and how, when Mandela said at the Rivonia trial that his ideals were ones for which he was prepared to die, that was no rhetoric, because he faced the imminent possibility of the death sentence. How different history might have been if that had been the outcome.

It was one thing to be a liberal and an opponent of apartheid in this country, but it was quite another to be that in South Africa. Alan Paton and the Liberal Party of South Africa were increasingly militant opponents of apartheid there. It was a Liberal party activist, Eddie Daniels, who was the first person Helen Suzman met on her first visit to Robben Island. He famously told her, “Don’t waste time talking to us. Go and talk to Mandela at the end of the row. He’s our leader.” It was an early indication of the extraordinary way in which Mandela reached out to people beyond his own natural constituency and to those from different political backgrounds and traditions in South Africa. Daniels was sentenced to 15 years at Robben Island for violent sabotage, and he served every day of it because he refused to renounce the armed struggle. Sometimes we have to be prepared to fight for freedom.

The Liberal Party of South Africa faced being banned in 1968 for the appalling crime of having party members who were from different races. It chose to disband,

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rather than accept that outcome. For decades it looked as though moderate voices were likely to be drowned out in South Africa. We had the likes of Eugene Terreblanche on the extreme right and some extreme voices on the other side making it look as though the only possible outcome was a bloodbath. It is an extraordinary testament to Nelson Mandela and the others who led the ANC and other political parties at the time that they managed to achieve a peaceful transition not only to a multiracial South Africa, but to a multi-party democracy.

A few weeks ago I was honoured to meet three inspiring young people—I would like to read their names into the record, because they represent the future of South Africa—Mondli Zondo, Lidia Rauch and Rishigen Virenna. They are members of the young leaders programme of the Democratic Alliance, the party now led by the former Rand Daily Mail journalist Helen Zille. They are too young to remember watching Mandela walking free from prison or that extraordinary moment—I remember being glued to the television—when he stood to be sworn in as President, listening not only to “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” but to “Die Stem”. What a picture of reconciliation that was. I remember fighting back tears while watching it. Those three young people were certainly too young to have bought The Special A.K.A.’s “Free Nelson Mandela” the first time around. I showed my age by telling them about it.

In the 1960s, those three young people would have been called a black, a white and an Indian. It is thanks to Nelson Mandela and the struggle he led that today they are simply called South Africans. It is thanks to Nelson Mandela and the struggle he led that they are free to post pictures of themselves embracing each other on Facebook regardless of race. They are free to take up political causes. They are free, if they so choose, to oppose the ANC Government. I hope that young people like them and the new generation of South Africans remember, and that we never forget, that it was Nelson Mandela and the others who led that struggle who helped to make that possible. Thanks to Nelson Mandela and those who supported him in the struggle, those young people today are simply free.

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): Order. I know that Mr Speaker mentioned the number of Members who wish to speak. We will not impose a time limit, but I suggest that Members should limit their speeches to five minutes, because I do not want to see anyone miss out.

6.37 pm

Mr Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire) (Lab): This is one of those occasions when everyone starts by saying that they are speaking on behalf of their constituents. It is something we often claim, but it is undoubtedly true on both sides of the House today. Many Members have begun their remarks by suggesting that everything has already been said, but each and every Member has found something genuinely new to share with the House. I hope that I can follow in that sprit.

I remember the first day I arrived in South Africa. I was 12 years old and had rarely been outside Glasgow, let alone travelled abroad. Unemployment at home had

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led my family to emigrate, to swap our Glasgow housing estate for the sunshine of Cape Town. The truth is that I had not properly prepared, or been properly prepared, for what would confront me in the shape of apartheid. Back then, to the extent that Nelson Mandela could be said to have mainland neighbours, I was one of them, because my family lived in what was probably the third closest building to Robben Island.

I remember the little things that would give me and others a sense of the bigger picture of apartheid. In the first week after we arrived, our family tried to form a friendship with the taxi driver who picked us up from Jan Smuts airport and his family. We suggested what was natural in a city surrounded by two oceans: a game of football on the beach. But for all the dramatic sandy beaches along the city’s two coastlines, we ended up on a dangerous, rocky, uneven pebble beach—all because, of course, the family with whom we were trying to forge a friendship were designated Cape coloureds. Apartheid granted to the black majority only the minority of beaches that were deemed too dangerous for white people to swim off.

As I stood on those mornings at my whites-only bus stop in my whites-only housing area to travel to a whites-only school, I could see Robben Island each and every day. Of course, Nelson Mandela was banned; people could not utter his name and it was a criminal offence to carry his picture. But there it was—his island prison, in full and clear view in Table bay for the city and the whole world to see and to know what was going on.

Occasionally we would see the violence ourselves in the city streets, and the protests and the actions of the authorities, but we would never hear about it on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s TV or radio news; we would need to listen to the BBC World Service on a small wireless in our house before we knew what was actually happening almost on our own doorstep. I was entitled to South African citizenship but I did not take it up, nor did I serve in the South African army. I left the country, and left my family there, when South Africa invited me, as it did every white teenage boy at the age of 17, to be conscripted into the apartheid army.

Ours was an ANC-supporting family. There are lovely pictures of my mother and the rest of the family standing in the long queue on election day with their ANC flags, in what was meant to be a secret ballot. It was not as though the ANC had not on occasion tested our family’s patience or loyalty, including way back in 1982 when it blew up the power station that my father had gone to build when we went there as immigrants.

Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Lab): More work!

Mr Murphy: Okay—more work.

Of course, Umkhonto we Sizwe took care to make sure that it happened on a Saturday when no one was working on the building site, and no one was injured.

What was striking was the demonisation of Nelson Mandela, which was every bit as passionate as today’s speeches in this House in praise of him. We were told he was the reason there could not be a democracy, because he would take charge and turn the country to bloodshed. To understand Mandela’s achievement, we have fully to grasp the enormity of the fear that the white minority were encouraged to feel.

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The state was structured to sustain apartheid in every possible way. Among many things, I was taught at school that apartheid was the natural order and was encouraged by the established Church to believe that it was the will of God—I remember being told that by a church minister. It was compulsory to learn Afrikaans. It would have been entirely understandable—regrettable, of course, but understandable—if the majority had sought revenge, because, after all, many of the black South Africans were treated worse than dogs by the white minority.

The Mandela of the state’s fabrication and the supremacists’ imagination was the rallying point against majority rule. When the time came for Mandela to cast his first vote at the age of 75, he was the bridge that most South Africans tentatively—initially—stepped across into liberation and, for them, the enormous perceived uncertainty of that democracy.

I say gently, in keeping with the tone of today’s contributions, that I do not believe that the British Government’s record on South Africa in that era will be judged with any sense of generosity. Apartheid South Africa was a cancer on a continent, but it was dealt with through the prism of the power politics of strategic cold war interests. It was allowed to destabilise not only its own country but Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, South-West Africa, as it was called, and many others besides. That is why I am so proud that my home city of Glasgow was the first city in the world to grant its freedom to the man imprisoned off the shore of my then adopted city.

Like others, I want to thank the many people involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Long before the rock concerts and the well-intentioned celebrity endorsements, they stood unglamorously on street corners asking people to sign a petition in honour of someone they had probably never heard of. That movement taught us that the simple act of not buying South African apples is a statement in itself, and that, in the right circumstances, politics and sport could and should mix. Anyone who says that sport and politics should never mix does not fully understand what happened in South Africa.

Many have spoken about the engaging nature of President Mandela. I can only turn to a story from my own mother. My right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr Hain) spoke about his mother’s fantastic relationship and friendship with Nelson Mandela. I cannot boast anything of that order. However, my mother never tires of telling me the story of one day when she was in Cape Town; I was not living there at the time. She was, as many people do, walking with her head down through the city streets during her lunch break, and she bumped into someone she only knew was a tall man. She looked up, and it was not just a tall man—it was Nelson Mandela. They spoke, and he inquired as to who she was, what she did, what she believed in, and what she thought. She said, “I apologise, Mr Mandela”—I do not know what was going on his mind; perhaps he was thinking, “She’s not going to vote for me”, which of course she did—“I do hope you don’t mind, but I have to get back to work, so we have to stop our conversation.” I do not know whether my mother is the only person who has done this.

When Mandela came to the UK and went to the grand receptions, the truth is that I, like others, was probably a little intimidated by him. I did not seek a

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photograph with him, because I had the sense, looking at his life, that one of the things that was not missing from it was the need to have a photograph taken with me.

We sometimes think of Mandela in different phases. We remember Mandela the freedom fighter of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and the old black and white photographs. We refer to Mandela the global statesman in this, the internet age. But in my opinion not enough is made of Mandela the President. He introduced radical social reforms, including free health care, and gave many children the chance to go to school. As others have said, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did so much for the country.

One of Mandela’s greatest achievements was to defeat the phenomenon of our granting hero status only to those who die young, when those who are lost are missed not because of their achievements but for their unfulfilled and uncompromised promise. It is so rare for anyone to enjoy simultaneously a long life and near-universal love and respect, but Mandela captured and kept the sense of Camelot usually gifted only to those who are denied a life beyond middle age. A man born before the end of the first world war was to become the premier global cause of a digital age.

Even after Mandela left prison, the transition was painful—we have not focused on this enough today, understandably—with the provocation by state forces trying to create a civil war and the involvement of organisations such as Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging trying to incite tribal division.

This is ultimately a story of how the most powerful military force on a continent was defeated by an idea, and defeated by a group of undernourished prisoners on a barren rock in an Atlantic bay. The reconciliation after apartheid was a man-made miracle where millions of women and men played their part, but Mandela was undoubtedly the chemistry. In a troubled world, observers anguish that if only we had more Mandelas, so many of the problems facing us could be resolved. That is a pessimist’s view. I look at it in a different way, which is that at least we had one Mandela, and for that we should all be eternally grateful.

6.48 pm

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): I am conscious that a large number of colleagues want to contribute to this debate, so I want to make just one single point that I do not think has yet been made.

Mandela exemplified the dignity of hope. We all have to learn from his humility and from his preparedness to forgive those who persecuted him. The inheritance of Mandela’s hope should be for the people of Africa. It was particularly striking that he served only one term as President of South Africa, on a continent where far too often political leaders cling on to power for as long as possible.

As a country we are now the most generous donor of development aid of all the G8 nations. We can give development assistance to South Africa and provide it and South Africans with education. The right hon. Members for Neath (Mr Hain) and for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) and I are all graduates of the university of Sussex, which has produced more Members of the South African Parliament than of this Parliament as a result of the support the university gave to those from the ANC during the ’60s and ’70s.

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Africa must form its own destiny and decide whether it follows the path exemplified by Mandela of transparency, democracy, accountability and justice, or whether it pursues a course of corruption, cronyism and conflict. That is a choice for Africa to make; we cannot impose it on Africa.

Let us today hope that the people of Africa can see the example that Mandela has left them, and let us give them all the support we possibly can. Let us hope that in 10 or 20 years’ time, when the fantastic continent of Africa, so rich in human and natural resources, looks back, it will be able to say that it is free, democratic and just, because of the example that Mandela set it.

6.51 pm

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab): It is a real honour to follow so many passionate and eloquent speeches.

This morning I went to South Africa house to sign the book of condolence. It is still a really strange experience for me to enter South Africa house, having spent so much time on the pavement outside. Indeed, at one time I was convinced that the pavement there was particularly hard and cold, especially around midnight. I have since entered it in very different circumstances and in triumphant celebration of a free South Africa. The fact that the lobby of South Africa house has so many photographs of so many activists, including myself, makes it all the more welcoming.

This morning was different. It was sad—so very, very sad. As I signed the book in the name of Newcastle and anti-apartheid activists everywhere, I thought about how personal his death was for so many who had never met him personally. That was due to Mr Mandela’s towering personality, but it was also because apartheid was personal to so many of us who had never set foot in South Africa.

As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has said, it is easy now to forget how widespread the support was for South Africa and how much British racists took comfort and, indeed, solace from white rule. At the heart of apartheid was injustice, discrimination and separation. Do hon. Members remember the Bantustans? The justification of apartheid was for separate development, with blacks being given their own so-called homeland.

The belief that the races could not live together was obviously taken very personally by a young child in Newcastle with a black father and a white mother. It was also taken personally by so many people throughout Newcastle, the north-east and across the country. I want to pay tribute to the international working-class solidarity that supported the Anti-Apartheid Movement. The idea that what someone was and what they could achieve should be defined by the colour of their skin was taken as a personal attack by black people, by white people, by all people.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement is the most successful mass-movement this country has ever seen. It was the focus of my own activism for many years, spent in its headquarters on what is now called Mandela street, and I eventually joined its executive. Indeed, the first time I entered the parliamentary estate was for executive meetings organised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr Hain), Richard Caborn and Bob Hughes.

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I also want to pay tribute to Mike Terry who, tragically, died so young a few years ago, and to ACTSA—Action for Southern Africa—which is what the Anti-Apartheid Movement became.

Although the movement was successful, it was not simple. There were intense debates, concerns over tactics and alliances, and, of course, dirty tricks from the South African secret service and others. The evil of apartheid not only gave rise to the most terrible oppression in South Africa; it also corrupted its neighbours in southern Africa. Nelson Mandela was our strength, inspiration and source of unity. The minor debates and divisions within the movement were as nothing in comparison with the huge divisions within South Africa that were deliberately fostered over decades. Mr Mandela’s achievement in putting aside 27 years of imprisonment—much of it with hard labour—and in forgiving though not forgetting and in unifying his country is, therefore, all the greater. He did it not by playing to the fears in all of us, but by magnifying the goodness in all of us.

At a time when there are many debates about what it means to be the United Kingdom and a united Europe and about who we should let in, and at a time when asylum seekers are vilified and those on benefits are mistrusted, I believe that one of Nelson Mandela’s many lessons for us is that, if we do not live in the harmony that he sought, it is not because our differences are so very great, but perhaps because our politicians are not great enough.

6.57 pm

Mr Robin Walker (Worcester) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah), who made it very clear that apartheid was a personal attack on many people. I cannot claim her level of personal involvement in the anti-apartheid campaign, but I want to speak in this debate for two reasons: the first a constituency reason and the second a family one.

The battle to overcome apartheid had some unlikely heroes and we have heard a great deal today about the most inspirational of all. Another inspirational figure to whom this House recently paid tribute was the Capetonian, England and Worcestershire cricketer, Basil D’Oliveira, who lived in my constituency for many years. His role in showing the cricketing world the unreasonable nature of apartheid and South Africa’s colour bar and in helping to strengthen the sporting embargo against apartheid has been well documented. He was no active political campaigner, but in many ways his quiet dignity was a greater challenge to the regime at that time than a more outspoken approach would have been.

It is typical of the great Madiba’s generosity of spirit that he personally invited D’Oliveira to have lunch with him in 1996 during a coaching trip to South Africa. At the end of their time together he rose from his chair, hugged Basil D’Oliveira and said:

“Thanks for coming, Basil…You must go home now. You’ve done your bit.”

While some in the Anti-Apartheid Movement were critical of Basil D’Oliveira for not being more outspoken and not publicly backing boycotts of South Africa, Mandela—ever one to recognise the bravery and dignity of others—gave him the full credit for doing his bit.

Basil himself described their meeting as

“one of the greatest days of my life”,

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“He’s just a marvellous man and I’ve always thought a lot of him, read a lot about him and now I’ve actually met him—brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and to come back to the new South Africa has been absolutely marvellous.”

It was one of my greatest honours as Worcester’s MP to be at last January’s memorial service for Basil D’Oliveira and to be able to offer my condolences to his family, who live to this day in Worcester. I am sure that they, along with thousands of my other constituents, will be mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela.

As I said, the second reason I wanted to speak today was due to a family connection. My wife Charlotte was born in South Africa and spent the early years of her life there. Her father, Professor Jeremy Keenan, was a university lecturer at Witwatersrand, and to an outsider it might have appeared that they were among the comfortable white beneficiaries of the apartheid system. In fact, he spent years working with the ANC, travelling into the townships and homelands and using his privileged access as an anthropologist to document the appalling treatment of black people under apartheid, the pass laws and the use of control mechanisms, then passing on the information to his contacts in the ANC. While in South Africa, he wanted to dedicate a book that he had written about the Tuareg to Mandela, but under the laws of the day he could not have it published with a mention of that man’s name. He gave his dedication indirectly by speaking about the fact that his son was

“born in a land where drought is also not unheard of and where elders also live on islands”.

My father-in-law and his family had to leave South Africa in a hurry in 1987 when the Government of P. W. Botha cracked down hard on those suspected of supporting Mandela and his allies. The information he had gathered was to be compiled in a book that would have been called “Dying for Change”, but at the time the South African authorities were able to suppress such publications, and only now are the full details emerging. Other people engaged in shining a light on the regime or passing information to the ANC were murdered, and both he and his family suffered threats and intimidation from the security services, including multiple break-ins, and having their pets poisoned and the brakes on their cars tampered with.

Last year, I was able to travel to South Africa and join my father-in-law on his first visit to that beautiful country since the end of apartheid. We saw a country that still faces great challenges, in which there are still vast inequalities, but most of all we saw a country at peace with itself and a country in which young people of all colours and backgrounds can live with hope for the future. That is the legacy of Mandela. As Rabbi Sacks said of him,

“He permanently enlarged the horizon of human hope.”

There can be no more fitting epitaph than that.

7.1 pm

Mr Dave Watts (St Helens North) (Lab): I am grateful to be able to pay my tribute to Nelson Mandela. He was a great leader and statesman and a wonderful loving human being. Despite having to endure 27 years in jail he remained committed to his cause, forgave his past enemies, and led his country from the dark times of apartheid to freedom, democracy and equality under law. As I look back on his life, I cannot but believe that that 27 years was wasted in prison. Imagine Nelson Mandela

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as President as a young or middle-aged man. Imagine the difference that he would have made to South Africa. Imagine the inspiration that he would have been to the whole of Africa and the world. We can all learn lessons from Nelson Mandela. My sympathy goes out to the people of South Africa, especially to his family and friends, who have lost not just a great leader, but a husband, a father, a grandfather and a loyal friend.

It was Desmond Tutu who said that Nelson Mandela had one big fault, which was that he was sometimes loyal to his friends who let him down badly. I do not think that is a bad fault. For anyone who had Nelson Mandela as a friend, he was there on the good days and the bad days. He was a real friend at all times, and I do not think that that is a bad quality in a man. Desmond Tutu also said that he was a gift to South Africa. Certainly he was a gift to South Africa, but he was probably a gift to the whole world. He made us aware that despite any atrocities that we might face in our lives, it is possible for people to forgive, to reconcile and to move on and build a better world.

Nelson Mandela was a modern politician, although he was in his 90s. He was always smart and people noticed when he was in the room. He was great on the soundbites, and knew how to get his message across to the public and the media. He was a man of principle, a great leader and a statesman, and, as I said, a wonderful human being.

In case people believe that he will be forgotten, I finish with a more light-hearted view. My six-year-old grandson went to school on Friday and made a speech on the impact that Nelson Mandela had had on the world. However, he did not get all the facts right, because he said that he had been in a dungeon and not fed for 27 years. But overall he made the point that Nelson Mandela was a great man. It is nice to think that a six-year-old going to school remembers the great qualities of this individual, and that he will not be forgotten in the future.

7.4 pm

Mr Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury) (Con): I pay tribute to Mr Speaker for enabling today’s proceedings to take place, and to all the previous speakers. Their words speak for us all and we should let them stand and not be repeated. I simply wish to add one brief perspective. It is from one who never met Nelson Mandela personally, but was deeply inspired by him.

My perspective is a point of coincidence, which I modestly share with the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr Hain), whose speech today will resonate movingly down the years. That point of coincidence is not because, like him, I moved from one party to another, from the SDP to the Conservatives; he moved the other way. It is not because I boycotted all South African goods, at least until 1990. I never went to South Africa until the 2000s. It is not because as a young man I marched in London against apartheid, or because I signed numerous petitions or as a member of Amnesty International stayed in a cage trying to write letters and be active on behalf of political prisoners. It was because of what Nelson Mandela was doing that so many of our thoughts, particularly as young people, were shaped by him and what he stood for. The right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy) spoke exceptionally movingly, not just about solidarity and freedom but about Nelson Mandela’s

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great life and his influence transcending generations—political generations—and, deeply within us, our families, from generation to generation.

For me, the point of coincidence with the right hon. Member for Neath is that I was born in Africa. I was partly brought up and educated there. In my case, it was in a country then called Tanganyika. It has been proudly independent as the United Republic of Tanzania for the last 50 years, and was host for many years to the ANC, not least for its training at Morogoro and elsewhere. For people such as us, we never quite shake the red dust of Africa from our feet. It is interesting that for my parents not only is Julius Nyerere a great hero, but so is Trevor Huddleston and so is Nelson Mandela. For them and for my constituents, and for those few of us who are proud enough to have even a minuscule part of Africa in us, I want to make one point. Although I did not have the chance to meet Nelson Mandela personally, I have through my work on malaria and development met Graça Machel—his third wife, now his widow, but who when she met him was already the widow of one President —who has shown such commitment to the improvement of lives in her native Mozambique and to the improvement of all lives in South Africa. She worked with Nelson Mandela right through to the end, and through her strength, dedication and devotion to him she showed deep commitment and care. But above all she is now an advocate of his legacy, and our deep condolences go to her and to all Nelson Mandela’s extensive family.

As the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) and my right hon. Friends the Members for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) and for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) and others have said, Nelson Mandela was a giant of values and practice—a man of great standards, leadership, vision and inspiration, who has transcended politics today. The legacy that Graça Machel and others will want to carry forward is his championing of seeking peace and reconciliation, for which I and so many others will continue to battle. It includes his determination to bring down poverty, to build the capacities of good government, and to fight for jobs and justice for all, in all countries, and particularly in South Africa and the other nations of Africa. His dedication to the fight against AIDS and other tropical diseases that are totally treatable and avoidable was another feature of his leadership. He said that ultimately his birthright was South Africa and the African continent. He was an inspirational leader, a man who set standards for us all to which we can only aspire, as it will be impossible for us to reach them, but none the less they are worth aiming for. He did in the end say that he belonged to South Africa, but he embraced all of Africa and all the peoples in it. As we politicians reflect today on his extraordinary life and on the electoral mandate that has enabled us all to come to this place, I hope that his legacy—and the leadership of Graça Machel as she takes it forward—will mean that all the peoples, the leaders and the Governments of the 54 countries of Africa will embrace Nelson Mandela and what he meant for their future. His legacy and, above all, his courageous heart will guide them and help them to build the freedom and opportunity that the 1 billion and more Africans deserve. That is the greatest legacy that he can give, and I am absolutely sure that he will then be beaming down from above with his inimitable smile.

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7.10 pm

Dame Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood) (Lab): First, I should like to speak on behalf of my constituents in Brixton who celebrated and still remember Mandela’s visit in 1996. On Friday, when the book of condolence was opened by the leader of the council and the mayor, I spoke to a lady who had been at the Brixton Rec for that visit. She told me that she remembered the day well, saying, “I could not believe that a man like Nelson Mandela would want to visit a place like Brixton and people like us.” The inspiration that he created in those short hours lives on in so many hearts and memories.

I should now like to turn to the irreplaceable role that Nelson Mandela played in winning the bid for the Olympics for London 2012. Sport and its power have been a persistent theme of South Africa’s journey from apartheid to democracy, first as a lightning rod for the global anti-apartheid movement and then, at Nelson Mandela’s behest, as a means of healing that nation’s deep divisions. We will for ever remember his taking to the pitch wearing a Springbok shirt and cap to inspire the South African rugby team in 1995.

Let us fast-forward 10 years to the Olympic bid, when my friend Richard Caborn—then the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Central—and others negotiated Nelson Mandela’s support for London's bid. Mr Mandela spoke as though he were a Londoner when he said:

“There’s no city like London. It is a wonderfully diverse and open city, providing a home to hundreds of nationalities from across the world. I can’t think of a better place than London to hold an event that unites the world. The Games in London will inspire athletes as well as young people around the world and ensure that the Olympic Games remain the dream for future generations.”

His words about sport captured the essence of the London 2012 dream when he said that

“sport has the power to change the world, the power to unite people as little else does. It speaks to youth, in a language they understand. Sport creates hope where once there was only despair.”

Now, with his passing, public figures and private citizens across the world will find their own way of giving personal expression to Nelson Mandela’s legacy, through countless acts of courage, leadership and humility, and an unfailing belief in the generosity of the human spirit. As these tributes today have shown, our lives and the life of this nation were enriched by that great man. We now have to carry the challenge of his legacy forward.

7.14 pm

Sir Malcolm Bruce (Gordon) (LD): I apologise for having missed part of the debate; I had engagements that I could not change with people from outside the House. I am glad that the Speaker has allowed these tributes to be paid, as they give us the opportunity to place on record our views and experiences.

I had the great privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela shortly after he had been elected President. I have Richard Caborn to thank for that opportunity, as he was then the Chair of the Trade and Industry Select Committee, of which I was a member. The Committee visited South Africa to see how the ending of apartheid could change the business relationship between the United Kingdom and South Africa—as indeed it has done. Mr Mandela gave us a considerable amount of his time, as he always did; he was very generous and

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engaging. People often talk about his humility, and I was astonished when, on shaking hands with me, he told me that it was a great honour for him to meet me. I think I replied, “It is entirely the reverse, Mr President.” That was typical of his understatement and his charm.

On that visit, I also remember attending a reception at a hotel in a rather nondescript place called Midrand, which, as the name implies, is halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. I was talking to an Afrikaner lady, who expressed her concern about what would happen to South Africa now that it was in the hands of the majority. Obviously, I found that conversation rather uncomfortable. I pointed out that they were indeed the majority and that, as it had been an agreed transition, I hoped that she would welcome it.

Just before the reception ended, the president of the chamber of commerce announced that two of the young girls from the typing pool wanted to sing for us. Two very small girls stood on the podium, put their arms round each other and sang, a cappella, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. As they sang, tears started to run down the cheek of the Afrikaner woman. When they had finished singing, she turned to me and said, “This is still my country. It’s time I learned the words.” That encapsulated the impact of what Nelson Mandela was able to do. He made people understand that they had to move on, and that they had to do so without recrimination and without looking back.

I have the privilege of being the Chair of the International Development Committee and in that capacity I have travelled all over Africa in the past few years. Let us be clear: Mandela’s dream has by no means been fulfilled across Africa, which is riddled with conflict. Sadly, more often than not, those conflicts are between black and black, rather than the civil war between the races that many people feared. I am certain that Mandela’s wisdom and advice are still relevant. People have to be able to move forward, to work together, to embrace their enemies and to start to think about a different set of values.

After President de Klerk had given his undertaking that he would move forward to create majority rule in South Africa, he came to London to speak at the South African embassy. Members of the House were invited to attend. Very few did, but I chose to do so. The demonstration outside the embassy was still going on at the time, and I was heckled and harassed for having the audacity to go to listen to that speech. All I wanted to do was hear from the man himself just how genuinely committed he was to the promises and pledges he had made. I make no apology for going, and I have no regrets, because the results now speak for themselves.

At the end of that Select Committee visit to South Africa, we were about to leave Johannesburg to come back to the United Kingdom when we happened to bump into Joe Slovo in the airport lounge. He was terminally ill with cancer, but he was still working as a housing Minister. I told him that we had met Nelson Mandela and that I had seen and heard many things that had impressed me. I said I was impressed by how the country was determined to move forward as a rainbow nation of people who wanted to work together to put the past behind them and to go forward together as one nation. Joe Slovo said to me, “We won’t forgive, we can never forget, but you won’t build a new nation on bitterness and revenge.” That seemed to me

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fundamentally to sum up what Nelson Mandela had achieved: only when people can move forward, embrace the future and turn their back on the divisions of the past, can they face the world and claim that they have delivered freedom. There is a long way to go—it is still a long walk—but, without Nelson Mandela, perhaps the first step would not have been taken.

7.20 pm

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): I have my South African godmother, Mary Grice, to thank for a lifelong interest in Africa. When I was a child, she used to send me books about Africa and African artefacts. She stood in line with other members of the Black Sash in Durban, where she lived, to protest against apartheid. Her daughter, Jenny, worked her whole life—she recently retired—for the multiracial National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa trade union.

I do not think that hon. Members have said enough this afternoon about the role played by Africans in South Africa in securing their freedom. That freedom did not happen because of the global solidarity movement, important though it was, but because South Africans themselves demanded the rights that they now have. Mandela’s genius was not simply to win the argument and the political struggle, but to win over his opponents and to persuade them that he and the ANC had been right all along.

There has been huge consensus across the Chamber today among hon. Members, many of whom have shown that they learned their politics in the South African solidarity movement, but there has not always been such consensus. I published a poster—I think it was the first in the UK—demanding freedom for Mandela in 1973, when he had just been made vice-president of the National Union of Students. I named a bar after him at my student union in Bristol at about the same time. Members of the ANC came along to the opening, but were a bit sniffy about our naming a bar after their great leader. I was hugely relieved to find, after his release, that he drank.

Ten years later, when the Anti-Apartheid Movement moved its headquarters from Charlotte street to Selous street, as it then was, in Camden Town, I ran a campaign to get the name changed to Mandela street, which is the one it enjoys today. Such minor acts of solidarity were roundly condemned at the time. I still have a cutting from The Rhodesia Herald, as it was then, and from a prominent British national Sunday newspaper expressing incredulity that anybody wished to honour and show respect for the name of this political prisoner.

I served for quite a few years on the executive or national committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movement under the chairmanships of both the noble Lord Hughes in the other place and John Ennals, who was the brother of David Ennals, the Health Minister under Harold Wilson. I led campaigns to persuade local authorities and trade unions to sell their investments in South Africa.

When I was first elected to the House in 1992, I wanted to become involved with anti-apartheid work, but I found that we had apartheid among our all-party groups, which in those days could be set up without needing to have members from all parties. There were two South African groups—the all-party group on South

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Africa, which argued against disinvestment and for white rights, order and no change in South Africa; and the all-party group on Southern Africa, led by Peter Pike, the former Member for Burnley, who was mentioned by the right hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt). I joined the Southern Africa group, because it was closely aligned to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. The two groups merged a few years later, and it was because of the experience of reconciliation in South Africa that we felt we should join together into a single group.

One of the greatest privileges I have had as a Member of this House was to be selected to observe the first genuine democratic, all-race elections in South Africa in 1994. The practice was to put an African politician with one from further afield, so that there was a multiracial observer team, and I had the great good fortune to be twinned with Mose Tjitendero, who was the Speaker of the Namibian Parliament. Just five years before, Namibia had gone through a similar transition—nobody has mentioned it this afternoon—managing to move to democracy and majority rule without destroying the state and without that leading to civil war and chaos. I learned a lot from him during our three days of observing the election.

On the first day, in one of those long lines of voters that many of us will remember from our television screens—the right hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes) described them in his speech—I saw an old African women with snow-white hair, and I asked her how long she had been waiting to vote, because I was trying to find out whether it was taking people two, five or 10 hours, and she simply said, “All my life.”

After the election, I went to the Alexandra health centre, a progressive centre that had fought to extend health care to people of all races during the time of apartheid. I met a midwife who first qualified in what was then called Northern Transvaal—the Northern Province—who said that when she qualified, she was given her equipment, which consisted of a kettle to boil water to sterilise whatever instruments she might use and a candle so that she could do deliveries in the dark. We started talking about the sort of support that South Africa would need to build a health care system that provided for all its citizens, and she said that the challenge was not one of resources—after all, in South Africa the doctor Christiaan Barnard had carried out the first heart transplant operation many years before—but of how those resources were distributed.

Mandela was a revolutionary. Many refused to support him when he was in prison, because he refused to repudiate the armed struggle. Amnesty International would not make him a prisoner of conscience because of that refusal. We should not forget, however, that while the victims were citizens, the violence of apartheid came overwhelmingly from the security forces of the state—as in Sharpeville, the Soweto student uprising in 1976 and the Durban strikes in the early 1970s.

Mandela’s first goal was to achieve democracy and universal suffrage, and that goal has been achieved, but his vision went far wider. He wanted to achieve equality and full human rights and justice for all citizens in his country and the wider world, and those goals remain to

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be achieved. If we want to honour his reputation, we need to work to do our part, as political leaders in our country, to ensure that those goals are achieved.

We therefore need to concentrate on making the argument to the public in our country that we should spend 0.7% of our gross national income on international development. We need to retain the focus of our development programme on the elimination of poverty, and recognise that that requires us to challenge inequality globally, in our own country and in the developing countries that we are seeking to help.

I believe it was a mistake when, earlier this year, the United Kingdom decided to close its aid relationship with South Africa, which is a middle-income country. It does not need our money, but we have a lot to gain from continuing to work with South Africa and its Government in examining how they are tackling inequality there and in transferring the lessons we can learn from them back to the United Kingdom and other developing countries where we have programmes, because unless we deal with the problem of inequality, we will never end the global scourge of poverty.

7.29 pm

Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) (Ind): On Mandela Monday in Parliament, I think it can be said that we are all South Africans today. There have been many touching and moving speeches. I hope that Mr Speaker will send a bound copy of Hansard to the South African Parliament to demonstrate the love and warmth that British MPs have, on behalf of their constituents, for Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela’s legacy can be seen by those who go to South Africa in the growth that there has been. People have said that it is not perfect. Clearly, it is not, but nor is the United Kingdom perfect. The advances that were made under Nelson Mandela’s stewardship were tremendous. Indeed, what South Africa is not is also tremendous—it is not Zimbabwe. We have heard today that Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years. Next year will see the 27th year of the presidency of Robert Mugabe. There is a rich irony in that.

Some of the words that we have heard spoken in relation to Nelson Mandela today have been reconciliation, freedom, dignity, love and hope. Of all those, one would usually say that love was the strongest emotion. However, today I believe that hope is the strongest.

I was introduced to a young opera singer called Siphiwo Ntshebe by a friend of mine who is the representative of South Africa in the north-west. He was going to sing the “Hope” anthem at the opening of the 2010 World cup in South Africa. Sadly, he died just before he was able to do so. Some of the words in the anthem were spoken by Nelson Mandela:

“The generosity of the human spirit can overcome all adversity.

Through compassion and caring, we can create hope.”

That is hope for all those who have faced discrimination and apartheid, hope for those who face discrimination and apartheid today, hope for those who face dejection, and hope for those who face being unheard, in whatever country they happen to live and whatever kind of evil they face.

I have stood in the shadow of the huge statue in Nelson Mandela square in Sandton in Johannesburg. I am sure that many Members here have done so. That

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statue is massive, yet when future generations learn of the achievements of Nelson Mandela, they will realise that it is not big enough. It could have been much bigger.

Many Members have said at the end of their moving and touching contributions that we will not see his like again. I hope that we do, because we need more Nelson Mandelas and we need them now. On the one occasion I heard Nelson Mandela speak in South Africa house, he finished his speech by saying that some leaders ought to learn when it is time to go. He did not mention Mugabe, but we all knew who he was talking about. I was privileged enough to shake hands with Nelson Mandela. It took him ages to leave South Africa house that day because such was his humanity that he wanted to shake hands with as many people as he could.

We will all remember where we were when we heard the news that Nelson Mandela had sadly died. More importantly, we will also remember that we were all privileged enough to stand on the earth at the same time as that great man was alive.

7.33 pm

Albert Owen (Ynys Môn) (Lab): There have been some great and passionate speeches tonight. Like many of the Members who have spoken, my politics and my life have been shaped by Nelson Mandela and by apartheid.

I left school not to go to university but to go to sea. The first deep sea trip that I made was to South Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope. On that ship was a bosun who was Jamaican, a fireman who was Maltese and a mainly British crew. In the international community that is seafaring, we shared many things. However, when we went ashore in South Africa, we could not do so together. I remember the tears of many people in that mess room when they reflected on that experience. They had experienced the same thing in America before the civil rights movement. They could not go to bars in America at that time because of the hatred that race brought in various communities. It is emotional to think that those people did not live to see apartheid lifted, but many people fought the good fight to ensure that it was.

As I have said, those experiences shaped my politics and my life. Those human experiences are the things that count because politics is about people. We are here today to pay tribute to one of the greatest people who has ever lived. That is a strong statement to make. I had the privilege of being in his company, as did many others. However, I remember reading about the history of apartheid on that ship as a 16-year-old with my colleagues.

I also remember being at university in my 30s during the 1990s when Nelson Mandela became President. My hon. Friend the Member for York Central (Hugh Bayley) and other Members have talked about the queues of people who waited to vote on that day. I think that will stick in the memory of most people in the world. When we complain about the apathy and low turnout in our country, we should think about what those people endured for many years. Nelson Mandela made it possible them to vote.

Nelson Mandela was a man who was prepared to die to free people. He was, in many ways, a modern-day prophet. He wanted to free a whole nation and a whole continent, and he achieved that. That is why we hold

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him in such high esteem. He was a person who was prepared to forgive and forget the hatred that had been shown to him.

I am a passionate rugby fan, as are many Members here. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than watching Wales beat England, whether it be in the Millennium stadium or at Twickenham. However, the greatest rugby moment that I can remember was when Nelson Mandela wore that Springboks shirt with the No. 6 on the back and gave that smile. That was the greatest sporting moment and the greatest political moment in one.

The capital city of my country, Cardiff, gave the freedom of the city to Nelson Mandela. My party had the privilege of being addressed by Nelson Mandela. I went to the Mandela Rhodes Foundation event in Westminster Hall in 2003. I am not sure whether I should say this because I am not a Rhodes scholar. As I have said, I left school rather early. My hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Austin Mitchell) also pushed in beside me with his camera, as he always does on such splendid occasions. The warm-up act on that day was made up of Tony Blair, Bob Hawke and Bill Clinton, and the concluding remarks were made by Nelson Mandela. What an act to see!

It was with great fondness that I heard the great man speak. I only wish that the bosun and the other seafarers I sailed with had had the opportunity to see what that man achieved in their name.

7.38 pm

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): Today we have heard from some of the generals of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. I must admit that I was only a foot soldier. I was never even arrested. I was once asked to put down a glass that I was using to lubricate my shouting, which was directed at the South African ambassador. I have three children who are mixed race. That would not have been allowed had I been in South Africa. I therefore had a personal beef with the ambassador, which I put to him in a rather loud tone of voice.

Nelson Mandela’s love and devotion were not reserved only for his family, but extended to his country, his people and all those who have ever stood up to tyranny. His philosophy of reconciliation and of a search for forgiveness; his political endeavour for a peaceful, democratic transition from the dark night of apartheid; and his relentless courage in the face of adversity allow him to stand tall in comparison with those who sought to keep power through the sword and without the consent of the people.

Few manage to make a mark as bold and as long-lasting as Mandela’s. His time on this earth may be done, but his legacy will burn bright through the ages. As long as one person is dominated by another, as long as one person keeps another in slavery and bondage, and as long as freedom of thought and freedom of conscience cannot be tamed, he will stand as an example to those seeking the bright day of freedom, democracy, tolerance and mutual respect.

The key message, however, is that of forgiveness. After his release, Nelson Mandela called not for revenge but instead for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. When we look around the world at acts of vengeance, such as the difficulties in Bangladesh, Kashmir or, as was mentioned earlier, Sri Lanka, we see that the problem is that those acts of vengeance give rise to other acts of

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vengeance, and things go off the rails. To that extent, we have a massive amount for which to thank Nelson Mandela. We thank him for showing people that the way forward is not through acts of vengeance.

7.40 pm

Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): I bring another accent to the debate and to our tribute to Nelson Mandela. Obviously, people in Ireland—north and south—supported the Anti-Apartheid Movement, inspired by men like Kader Asmal, who helped to found the movement here in London and then founded it in Ireland when he moved there. I spoke about him in my maiden speech in this House in 2005, which was in an Africa debate.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Ireland had the same view. In Northern Ireland, people tended to pick and choose their views according to party lines and whose side they were on at home. If we rose above such squabbles, we found that people in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, who were inspirational themselves, were inspired by Nelson Mandela and by the many people who were leading the struggle for democracy in South Africa, whether they were in jail or body-swerving the system, avoiding jail and organising in many different ways.

All sorts of arguments and debates were raging here in the 1980s. I worked for my predecessor, John Hume, as a researcher in Westminster, and I also spent time working in Teddy Kennedy’s office in the States. I know exactly what all the arguments were about why sanctions would not work or should not be put in place, and the argument that the geopolitical order required us to tolerate the apartheid regime. Even while the Government here were officially condemning it, they were not interfering with it in any way.

I also recall that there was a threatened split in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Ireland in the mid-’80s. Sinn Fein had started contesting elections and so on, and it joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement on a corporate basis. Several significant people then left, such as Garret FitzGerald. John Hume addressed a rally in Dublin, and it was one of the few times he publicly disagreed with Garret FitzGerald. He said that no differences to do with Irish politics should in any way detract from combined and united solidarity in repudiating the iniquity that was apartheid. Both at that rally and in debates in the House, John Hume made the point that we needed sanctions not just as a badge of moral indignation, and not just to put an economic bite on a regime that needed its collar felt, but in solidarity with the struggle for democracy in South Africa. After John Hume made that speech, Kader Asmal, who subsequently told Nelson Mandela that I helped to write it, made a point of getting it sent to South Africa and taken to Nelson Mandela in prison. Kader Asmal said that he thought it was the first time that a parliamentarian had put it that way.

As a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement—I represented the Union of Students in Ireland and then my party—I found myself in the unusual position of importing something into pre-democratic South Africa in the early 1990s. It was two collapsible aluminium polling booths that were made in my constituency, to be used as part of a training exercise by the National

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Democratic Institute for International Affairs. I was one of an international faculty helping in that exercise, in which regional and local ANC activists were being prepared for what may be involved in elections, so that they could organise themselves. They were obviously seething during the transition, because there were talks about talks, and there was a question of whether there would be all-party talks or a constituent assembly, and other difficulties of process followed. Nelson Mandela and his fellow leaders had to keep people together through all those troubles, difficulties and frustrations, and that was one exercise to help achieve that. As well as the polling booths, which were used when we split into two groups and toured the country, at the request of the Americans I also brought unused books of ballot papers from Ireland, north and south.

During those mock arrangements, I witnessed many people who had had lifelong involvement in the struggle for democracy going through their first act of queuing up at a polling station and voting, on an Irish ballot paper. Even though it was a mock election, they were crying. Like the hon. Member for York Central (Hugh Bayley), who was so struck when the actual election came and he saw the queues of people lining up for the real vote, I saw how important it was.

I met Nelson Mandela and, as I said, Kader Asmal, who became the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry in the Government of national unity and then Minister of Education in the first ANC Government. Nelson Mandela came to speak to all the political parties from Northern Ireland, which were in South Africa to learn lessons and get an insight from the South African process. It was not the first time we had done that—there had been previous trips—but it was the first time that all the parties were on one trip. We could not all share the same transport, because at that stage Unionist parties still said that they would not be in the same room or on the same transport as Sinn Fein. Even when we were taken on a visit to a local beach, at Africa’s most southerly point, apartheid South Africa’s laws unfortunately had to be reinstated and there was separation. I was at the event with Kader Asmal, who was seething at the idea that we were separated and imposing limits on ourselves, but he told me that Nelson Mandela had said to him, “It is not up to us to impose our standards on them. We can give them our example, and they will find their way.” I thought that was particularly rich.

The initial idea was that Nelson Mandela would speak to certain parties in one room, or one session, and then to other parties including Sinn Fein, or to Sinn Fein on its own, in another room or another session. A splendid solution was reached when people realised the architecture of the centre meant that they could remove two glass sliding walls so that some of us were under the roof while Nelson Mandela addressed us and others were outside—not under the same roof. That is how Unionist blushes were spared, but at least Nelson Mandela, as the elected President of South Africa, was allowed the dignity of saying the same thing to all of us at the same time.

Nelson Mandela gave us many key messages and lessons at that event. There were the familiar ones, such as the fact that we had to negotiate peace with our enemies, not our friends, but there were also points about not only needing to be sure about the integrity of our choice but needing to allow space for the integrity

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of other choices. He said that it was not enough just to get into talks—mutual engagement was not the target; mutual adjustment was the real, hard test. He also made it clear that, when finding new ground, it is much easier to make common ground than when we fight over the old ground and the old issues, identities and labels.

Many Members have paid tribute to people in England who stood against apartheid, but I want to make particular reference to the Dunnes Stores workers whose strike in 1984 did so much to galvanise opposition to apartheid in Ireland and beyond. I particularly wish to name Mary Manning, Karen Gearon, Alma Russell and Liz Deasy. In recent days, there has been popular demand in Ireland that whatever national delegation goes to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral and the other ceremonies, those Dunnes Stores workers should be part of it. They represent the real spirit of the struggle against apartheid.

Nelson Mandela’s famous opening words at his trial were:

“I am the First Accused.”

Today we remember him as the “first admired”. We hope that we can look forward to his being the “first emulated” in other areas where people are suffering from injustice and conflict, and from the violations that result from unaccountable power, but it is not only in those areas that he should be emulated. We need to remember that as well as indicting the iniquity and inequity of the apartheid system, he indicted the world order as we know it, a world order in which power and wealth are vested in the hands of a privileged minority. If we want to take part in the emulation of Nelson Mandela, we should not just expect things of other people who live in difficult circumstances; we should rise to the challenge, and deal with the apartheid nature of the world economic order that still exists.

7.50 pm

Mr Frank Doran (Aberdeen North) (Lab): We have heard many wonderful speeches, which have been both humorous and thoughtful. I entered the House of Commons in 1987, and I cannot imagine that a debate of this kind would have taken place then. I think that the debate we are having today demonstrates that things have moved on, not just in world politics because of someone like Nelson Mandela, but in the House. Of course, we would have such a debate only about someone who was very special, and, as we have heard from all who have spoken, Nelson Mandela was a very, very special man. We all live in his shadow, in a way that is difficult to describe.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I cannot boast of the relationship that I had with Nelson Mandela, but I can boast that I was in the same room as him twice, and I am very grateful for that. On the second occasion, when he came to Parliament soon after becoming President of South Africa, I was one of 2,000 people who sat and listened to his superb speech. What was probably most gratifying was the fact that, although she had called him a terrorist in previous years, the former Prime Minister was sitting in the front row paying obeisance like everyone else. I appreciated that very much.

I want to make one rather narrow point. Many of my colleagues have mentioned the Anti-Apartheid Movement, which I supported, and many have mentioned Bob Hughes.

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Bob, who was one of my predecessors as Member of Parliament for Aberdeen North, is now in the House of Lords. For many years, from the mid-1970s until the mid-1990s, he was a very energetic chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, which was disbanded after the first South African election. Having spent some of his childhood in South Africa, he knew exactly what was going on there, and most of the great events happened on his watch. He was heavily involved in the planning of the “Free Nelson Mandela” concert to which so many Members have referred. He was also very influential in politics in Scotland, as would be expected from a Scottish Member of Parliament.

Glasgow was the first city to grant Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city—in 1984, when he was still being called a terrorist and locked up in prison—and I am proud to say that the city that I now represent, Aberdeen, was the second to grant him that award, in the same year. That was all due to the work of Bob Hughes. It is an indication of the way in which Bob was regarded in South Africa that, after Nelson Mandela became President, he was awarded the Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo. Oliver Tambo, then deceased, had been the leader of the African National Congress. That special award had been created for foreign citizens who had supported South Africa and the ANC through all the hard times. The award had three levels, and Bob was given the silver award, which was for

“those who have actively promoted the interests and aspirations of South Africa through outstanding co-operation, solidarity and support.”

I think it important to put that on the record, because that award is the second highest that can be made to a foreign citizen.

I also want to pay a small tribute to Mr Speaker Martin, who has now retired. When I was Chair of the Administration Committee, he was anxious for us to mark the fact that Nelson Mandela had paid us a visit when he was President of South Africa. Many Members—but not enough of them—will know that in Westminster Hall there is a plaque which was placed there some four years ago to commemorate the fact that Mandela had made a great speech to the collected Houses of Parliament when he visited as President. If any of my colleagues are looking for a place to which to make a pilgrimage, I can tell them that it is quite close.

7.55 pm

Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab): The fact that the House of Commons has spent the whole day paying tribute to Nelson Mandela is, of course, a tribute to the man himself, but it is also a tribute to the thousands of Africans who struggled for their freedom. It is a tribute to activists such as Steve Biko, it is a tribute to the ANC and to the ANC in exile, but it is also a tribute to the thousands of ordinary people in, I believe, all our constituencies who stood on street corners and campaigned over the decades to make the release of Nelson Mandela possible.

I will always remember where I was when I saw Nelson Mandela being released from prison, hand in hand with Winnie Mandela. I also remember the BBC newscaster who was doing the bulletin. It was a friend of mine and one of the most loved newscasters, Moira Stuart. I shall never forget that, because the struggle against apartheid and the struggle to free Nelson Mandela

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were part of the warp and weft of my life as a young activist in the late 1970s and 1980s. There were the meetings, there were the pickets, there was the examination of the oranges to make sure they were—


—I think that a lot of us have been there—and there were the donations. For a certain generation, that was the iconic international struggle. There were times when we thought that it was no more than a struggle and Nelson Mandela could not be released, so seeing those television pictures of him hand in hand with Winnie was an extraordinary experience for me.

We have heard some brilliant speeches today. The former leader of my party, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) made one of the best speeches that I have ever heard him make, and I have heard him make some brilliant speeches since I was first a Member of Parliament in the 1980s. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) made a very impressive speech, reminding us that Mandela was a politician first and last, and reminding us also of the importance of the practice of politics. My right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr Hain), who was one of the heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle—it might be said that that was his finest hour—told us about his childhood and his family, and presented a touching vignette of Winnie Mandela leaning down to kiss two white children.

Let me say a little about Winnie Mandela. She did terrible things and terrible things were done in her name, but no one who was active in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s will forget her courage and beauty when she was at the height of her powers. She endured long years in internal exile; she endured 18 months of solitary confinement, parted from her children; she endured beatings, and the blowing up and killing of her friends and comrades around her. As I have said, she did terrible things, but we cannot take away the fact that at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, she was a transcendent figure.

We have heard about Nelson Mandela and his achievements today. I remember seeing him on his first visit to the United Kingdom. The extraordinary thing about him was not just his presence and charisma, but the fact that there was no sense of the bitterness that he was entitled to feel after spending 28 years in prison and seeing what had happened to his friends and family. As we have heard, it was that nobility of purpose that enabled him—it was his signal contribution—to drive through a peaceful transition to majority rule without the bloodshed that so many people prophesied. He also stood down after one term. If only more leaders in countries around the world were prepared to do as he did and let go of power.

We live in an era that despises politicians, in which the word “political” is practically a term of abuse. We live in an era when too many young people believe that voting changes nothing, but I was privileged to be an election observer for those very first elections in which black people could vote. I remember leaving the centre of Johannesburg and driving all the way up to Soweto, on the edge of the city. We got there for 6 o’clock, but people had been queuing for hours. When the polling station opened, I saw figure after figure go into the polling station, mark the very long and complicated

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ballot paper and then step to the ballot box. Many of them looked around as they did so, as if even then someone would say, “Not you, you’re not allowed to vote.” It was being an observer at those elections that taught me the value of the ballot—that people can struggle and die for the right to vote.

Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid resonated with me as a young black woman just getting active in politics. The anti-apartheid struggle taught me that I was part of something international, and that politics was in the end about moral purpose. It taught me that if you believe in something, you should push on, because evil cannot stand. There is no more respected politician among young people in the UK than Nelson Mandela. It is a privilege to be allowed to speak today, and if people would only believe what Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle believed—that you can alter your reality and it is worth getting involved in the struggle and understanding the issues—our politics would be enriched so much.

8.2 pm

Mr Tom Clarke (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab): One of the joys and privileges of being a Member of this House—apart from speaking for constituents, which I hope to do this evening—is that we have a front seat as history unfolds. I shall respond to your request for brevity, Mr Speaker, not least because one of my recollections of Nelson Mandela was of the day he was released from prison. Like most people, I was overjoyed. Then I suddenly remembered that I had the first question for Mrs Thatcher at Prime Minister’s questions that Tuesday. I thought a lot about that question and I delivered it as best I could. At one point, the formidable Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman, sitting on the second row of Benches on the Government side, called out, “Too long.” The then Speaker, Mr Bernard Weatherill, was forced to intervene, saying, “I remind the hon. Gentleman that this is a question, not a speech.”

In that spirit, I hope to be brief in giving my recollections of a great life that will be remembered for a very long time—that of Nelson Mandela. Shortly after his release, he came to Glasgow. As hon. Members have said, he had been given the freedom of the city of Glasgow—the first city to do so—after the work of people such as Janey Buchan, the Rev. Ian White, who was a minister in a church in my constituency in Coatbridge, and my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow South West (Mr Davidson), who was a member of the Glasgow city council that agreed the bestowing of the freedom of the city, to the chagrin of the Glasgow Herald, which said that it could not see any link between that man and Glasgow except perhaps in the minds of a few Labour councillors. Now we know better.

Nelson Mandela charmed the people of Glasgow and reminded us that he was a person of principle and a man with deep values and a great vision for the future. When he was elected President in 1994, I had the privilege of being one of the observers at that election. I was in the company of David Steel, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) and Bob Hughes—I am delighted that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen North (Mr Doran) recognised Bob Hughes and his role in the campaign to end apartheid and bring freedom in South Africa and elsewhere. The president was duly elected and the world waited to see what would follow. He had defeated what most people

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thought could not be defeated, and I remember his slogan in that election, “Jobs, Freedom, Peace”. Even today in this Parliament that remains our call for Britain and the rest of the world.

On that election day, I recall the remarkable reaction to the fact that people had the right to vote. I remember speaking with people—I am delighted to have photographs of some of them on the wall of my bedroom—including one woman who walked for seven hours and waited three hours in the hot sunshine to exercise that right to vote. One man—a small business person—said to me, “I am 58. If I die today, I will die a happy man because I have cast a vote.”

My right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley and I recall that one of the things we were asked to do was to visit a prison. I do not wish to be controversial, but prisoners there had votes. Ironically, after they had voted they came to us and said, “We’re free, we’re free.” Perhaps there is a message there for all of us.

Time went on and in due course, as right hon. and hon. Members have said, the President of South Africa came to this Parliament. That was a wonderful event, with—rightly—much pomp and circumstance, as we would have expected and which the President of South Africa deserved. One thing stands out in my mind, and it coincides with the references that have been made throughout today to Nelson Mandela’s humility. After he had delivered a wonderful speech in the Palace of Westminster, he made his way down the aisle accompanied by the then Speaker, Baroness Boothroyd. He stopped at the fourth or fifth row where a frail, elderly little man was sitting and embraced him, expressing his gratitude. It was Jeremy Thorpe. Mandela was non-judgmental, a man of vision, compassion, forgiveness and understanding.

On the eve of the Third Reading of the Bill that became the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act 2006, which I had the privilege of sponsoring, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown), said at a reception that he had been speaking to Nelson Mandela that day, and Nelson Mandela sent his very best wishes for the success of the Bill. For me, that was very humbling and makes me very proud.

Remembering his commitment to the millennium development goals and the progress that can follow—to human equality, to human rights, to gender recognition, to the need for everybody to enjoy an equality that gives them the very best of the health service in every part of the world—Nelson Mandela can never be forgotten.

In Scotland, very often when we run out of superlatives we look at the words of Robert Burns. I do not know whether during his prison reading Nelson Mandela read anything of Robert Burns, but I suspect that he did, and before I sit down I would like to put on record Burns’s words in writing to a friend in recognition of his father’s life:

“A friend of man, the friend of truth,

The friend of age and guide of youth;

Few hearts like his-with virtue warm’d,

Few heads with knowledge so informed:

If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;

If there is none, he made the best of this.”

Several hon. Members rose

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Mr Speaker: Order. Over 20 colleagues still want to speak, and I am keen to accommodate everybody. It will not happen if there are long speeches, but if there are short speeches, it can.

8.12 pm

Valerie Vaz (Walsall South) (Lab): May I start by thanking all Members for their contributions and you, Mr Speaker, for allowing this tribute to the first black South African President, who came to speak to this House on 11 July 1996? I am a new Member, so I was not here then to witness that, but on Thursday 5 December 2013 I was in Walsall, welcoming the Rev. Jesse Jackson to Walsall college. The Rev. Jesse Jackson played his part in the struggle for equality in America, and for the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama. Later in that evening we heard that Nelson Mandela, a true hero of our times, had died.

The struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa became our struggle. We honour Nelson Mandela today, who was No. 1 on the Rivonia trial list along with Jewish people, Indians and people of dual parentage, because they were the heroes who lost their liberty by opposing the brutality of a system that said the majority black population should not have equal rights or opportunities because of the colour of their skin.

So many of us were part of the anti-apartheid movement in this country and around the world—people of different parties: the Labour party, the then Liberal party, the Communist party, those of no party. There were also people of the Churches, and many Members have paid tribute to Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, and I would add Canon Collins, trade unions, and citizens, all of them united against the apartheid regime. Many of us share the abiding memory of my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr Hain), who made a stunning speech, of running—always running. He, too, has paid a personal price for his activism.

I reviewed “The Anti-Apartheid Handbook” many years ago, and one thing that struck me was how people were classified in South Africa. One way in which they were classified was by seeing how long it took to drag a comb through their hair. Nelson Mandela, the ANC and the international community could not stand by and watch while innocent men, women and children were gunned down in Soweto or Sharpeville for opposing that brutal regime. The boycott and sanctions were right; it was not a question of sticks and carrots, but, as Archbishop Tutu said at the time of the boycott, people were suffering anyway and the boycott could not hurt them more. Music, prose, demonstrations and speeches— all those forms of action—set the spark to free Nelson Mandela.

Not many of us would have his courage not to compromise our principles, and many of us today are still judged by the colour of our skin, rather than on our attributes. The main reason he is such a hero to us, however, is that his story is like a fairytale come true: our hero, imprisoned for his beliefs, had 27 years of his life taken away, but collectively people came together—in collective action, as he wanted—and he was free.

As he said, he was not bitter, because if he had been so, he would still have been in prison. We can only honour his legacy if each of us is the spark for change. We can only honour his legacy if we continue the fight for social and economic justice. We can only honour his

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legacy if we together work for his values of forgiveness, perseverance, peace and hope. We give thanks for his life, and may he rest in peace.

8.16 pm

Stephen Twigg (Liverpool, West Derby) (Lab/Co-op): One of my earliest political memories is of being taken as a child by my parents to march against apartheid here in London. For my generation who came to politics in the ’70s and ’80s, this was the great progressive cause, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) said. I remember my mum coming back from the greengrocers in our very conservative part of suburban London having had a big argument about why she would not buy the Outspan oranges, which were from apartheid South Africa. It was the great cause.

The period in which I was most involved was when I was a student and when I was in the National Union of Students. Student politics often has a very bad name and can even be a term of abuse, but Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world, and the United Kingdom student movement played a central role in the campaign to release Nelson Mandela and to bring an end to apartheid. Archbishop Trevor Huddleston said the student movement was the backbone of anti-apartheid, and Nelson Mandela served as honorary president of the NUS from 1969 until his death last week. Students were absolutely central to the success of the boycott Barclays campaign to get the bank out of South Africa, to putting pressure on universities and colleges to disinvest and to the boycott of South African goods. It was very striking that the various parts of the student movement, which disagreed with each other about just about everything else, could come together in unity and determination in the common cause to fight apartheid.

A number of Members on both sides of the House have mentioned Mike Terry. He was the first NUS executive member to have responsibility, more than 40 years ago, for work on southern Africa. He went on to be secretary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and only once apartheid was brought down did he follow the career for which he had trained and become a physics teacher. It was my pleasure to get to know him when he was a physics teacher at Alexandra park school in Haringey in north London and I was an Education Minister. As others have said, there is enormous cynicism about politics in this country and in other countries at the moment, but anti-apartheid and the struggle to release Nelson Mandela are surely politics at its very, very best.

Let me mention briefly two other issues. Several Members have spoken about what Nelson Mandela did and said about HIV and AIDS. I think it is fair to say that while he was in office, tackling HIV and AIDS was not a priority and, of course, his successor, President Mbeki, questioned the link between HIV and AIDS. It was only after he left office that Mandela’s role changed and was absolutely crucial. In 2000 he said:

“Our country is facing a disaster of immeasurable proportions from HIV/AIDS.”