Benn speeches a surprise video hit

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The Independent Online
THE FIRST full-length House of Commons video, comprising 10 of Tony Benn's best-loved speeches, has been a surprise hit as a Christmas gift. It is into its fourth edition since its launch three weeks ago and has already more than covered its production cost, writes Michael Leapman.

'It's very gratifying,' the Labour MP said yesterday. 'We sold out the first run of 300 almost immediately after your article appeared in the Independent. Then we made another 400 and they sold out. So far we've sold 1,500 and I've just ordered another 1,000. It shows there is a gap in political reporting. People want to hear actual speeches, not read about them through intermediaries.'

Orders have come from places not known for their enthusiasm for radical causes. A South African senator placed an order after seeing an extract on his local television, and a police constable from Romford wanted a copy.

The Commons Select Committee on Broadcasting has to give permission for commercial use of Commons videos and it allowed Mr Benn's tape on an experimental basis. In the new year it will decide whether to allow other MPs to do the same.