In one of his final interviews, Tony Benn reflected he had a "very satisfying life and I have enjoyed it enormously".

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he had "made every mistake in the book" but that the test of authenticity was in doing what you believed.

In an interview recorded weeks before his death, Mr Benn said: "I got in (to Parliament) when I was very young, 25, and my whole life up and until I left Parliament 12 years ago has rotated around the constituency.

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"That's been my life and I can't think of a better way of occupying a life.

"But it is very exhausting and you get tired out arguing - on the other hand if you're not arguing you are not doing what you're supposed to do. I found the bitterness which came with some of the arguments very depressing.

"But otherwise, you are learning very hard about how Britain was governed and what the choices were and considering them and arguing for them, and if you disagreed with someone you said - that wasn't always very welcome.

"I think it has been a very satisfying life, I've enjoyed it enormously."

He added: I think the thing I would be ashamed of is if I'd said anything I didn't believe, in order to get on personally."