UK Politics

Nelson Mandela's life celebrated at event in Westminster Hall

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Media captionTony Benn: ''The real legacy of the apartheid struggle... is hope for the future''

Politicians, musicians and artists have celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela at a special event in Westminster.

Foreign Secretary William Hague called the former South African president, who died last week, a "man of towering moral stature" and an "inspiration".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Mandela represented "universal values" of equality, tolerance and justice.

The commemoration took place in Westminster Hall, where Mr Mandela addressed parliamentarians in 1996.

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Media captionBetty Boothroyd described the moment Nelson Mandela took her hand to walk into an important Westminster ceremony

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes hailed Mr Mandela as having saved South Africa, under the apartheid system, from civil war.

Veteran activist and former Labour MP Tony Benn told the audience Mr Mandela had fought for justice, "not as a South African, or a black, but as a member of the human race".

He added: "I express my deepest gratitude to him and all those who worked with him."

The event was intended as an opportunity for people from different walks of life and the South African diaspora in the UK to recognise Mr Mandela's achievements and legacy.

It was co-hosted by Commons Speaker John Bercow and Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza.