Veteran politician Tony Benn today joined animal rights campaigners for a peaceful protest against Oxford University’s new animal experiment laboratory.

The former Labour MP and political campaigner spent 30 minutes talking to members of campaign group Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford (Vero).

Mr Benn, 83, said: “I have always been a believer in animal rights. There is now a lot of strong evidence that animal testing is not necessary, and could be done in a different way.”

The socialist joined animal rights campaigner Sir David Madden outside Nuffield College, in New Road.

Campaigners wore academic dress to highlight the support they claimed to have from within the university, for their call to end the use of animals in medical research at the institution.

A university spokesman said the Biomedical Sciences Building was about research and not pharmaceutical testing, so arguments about testing were irrelevant.