HL Deb 06 October 2003 vol 653 cc1-12
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton)

My Lords, we have lost our Leader. Lord Williams of Mostyn—Gareth—died on 20th September 2003. At the time of his death, his command of the House and the faith that the House had in him were total. He brought to the job of Leader of this House his characteristic qualities: incisiveness, respect, friendship and humour. He led the House brilliantly, calmly, efficiently and effectively. I know that he will be deeply missed in all parts of the House.

Gareth came from north Wales. Right from the beginning, he was special. It says something about his impatience that he chose to be born in the taxi his mother was travelling in to the hospital to have him— rather than wait for its arrival—and about his skill that all was well. He never lost his connection with Wales or his understanding of where he had come from. Indeed, on the night before his untimely death, he was back in Wales, in Swansea, addressing a legal dinner with his usual wisdom and wit.

He went up to Cambridge without either a dinner jacket or any of the connections that eased the passage of so many of his contemporaries. He went to the Swansea Bar, where his dominance was established very quickly. He thrived at the Bar. He was never like many other lawyers: he saw the point, and he said what it was clearly and only once. And whether it was the jury or the judge, they usually accepted it.

By the early 90s, Gareth stood head and shoulders above the rest of the Bar, but he never disguised his bewilderment at the funny practices and clothes of the courts. Those of you who heard Gareth describe how the singer Michael Jackson, one of his libel clients, reacted with incredulity as Gareth detailed what he should expect when he went to the High Court—wigs, gowns and orotund legal argument—will know the wicked glee he took in lampooning the eccentricities of the law.

Gareth was never going to stay his working life at the Bar, moving to high judicial office—though that would unquestionably been his, had he stayed. He was a man of passionate and radical views. He wanted to change things. He relished the opportunity that going to the Lords gave him. But, just as he was not like other lawyers, he was not like other politicians either. His way to achieve the things that he passionately believed in was by quietly persuading others to do them. He knew that he could achieve so much if he allowed others to take the credit, but no one who knew Gareth was misled into believing that the quiet of his persuasion reflected moderate support for change. He desired change passionately and persistently.

When he joined the Government in 1997, he did so as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Home Office. He was responsible for prisons, and he spoke for the Home Office on all its issues in the House. He was a source of real strength in the department. Officials and Ministers alike relied on him for guidance and confident wisdom. Throughout his time in government, his advice was always listened to. Here, Home Office Questions became the biggest box office draw: numbers went up; he was funny; he answered the Question—usually—and he transmitted his views loud and clear to the House.

Without ever a hint of disloyalty or aggression, very quickly after 1997 he marked himself out as the pre-eminent parliamentarian in this House. His pre-eminence came in part from his debating skills. His power to persuade was immense. Without rancour or sourness, he was able to deflect every attack, often using humour and always putting the best argument. Somehow, he was always able to convey to us that, however serious the issue might appear, it was not an issue that we could not sort out. There was no crisis that he could not avert; there was no injured feeling that he could not mend.

But his pre-eminence came from so much more than his debating skills. Having Gareth beside you on the Front Bench was like having the writing team of "Yes Minister" on your side. As you listened to the unanswerable supplementary question about how truly dismally you had mishandled the Dome, Gareth would whisper the life-saving answer that diverted the question and saved your bacon. His unselfish quickness was legendary. He did it for all of us. We looked so much better than we were, because we had Gareth.

Gareth did not stay a Parliamentary-Under Secretary long. In 1999, he became the first Attorney-General in this House. Because he was someone who so totally had the confidence of both the lawyers and the politicians, his tenure was extremely successful. He made the precedent stick.

He was the only possible Leader in 2001. His achievements during that period are remarkable and well recorded—including the changes in working practices, the register of Members' interests and navigating the House towards changes in the speakership. As regards the Bills he steered through the House, who else could have had the confidence of the House to steer the Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill through the House in two days flat last month?

But Gareth's remarkable achievement in this House is so much more than the record could ever show. Gareth has, above all, been the person who has most influenced how the House has coped with change. His period as Leader, and the blinding obviousness of his claim to that role, showed that it was the qualities which Gareth had that the House was both influenced by and aspired to. And those qualities—decency, selflessness, co-operation, friendship, humour and respect—he has left with us in the way that he influenced this place.

For all of us, it is next to impossible to imagine the House without Gareth. The sad requirement on us all is that from now we will have to do so. But his loss is so much more profound than only to this House. All of our thoughts are with Veena and his family. The whole House joins me in sending our deepest sympathies to Gareth's family.

On a beautiful autumn day last week in a small country churchyard, Gareth, surrounded by friends, family and colleagues from all through and all across his life, was laid to rest. His funeral could have filled cathedrals. Every Member of this House from all sides mourns the loss of Gareth Williams. He was a great Leader of the House. His death deprives us all. Losing Gareth takes away a piece of everyone here. We will never forget him.

2.45 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, even in these present sad circumstances, I know that the House will forgive me if I take the opportunity to congratulate and welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, on her appointment as Leader of the House. I look forward to working with her for the good of the whole House.

How unbelievable it is that Lord Williams of Mostyn is not in his place today. I share the shock and incredulity that we all felt when we heard of his sudden death just over two weeks ago. When I last saw him a day or two before his death, he was all his usual self; that is, courteous, urbane, practical and good humoured. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor told us much about Lord Williams's background and his brilliant career at the Bar, to which I cannot add. But in reference to his origins, in my time in this House Wales has produced two remarkable men to lead the party opposite; namely, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos and Lord Williams of Mostyn. They both treasured their Welsh heritage. Neither was altered for a moment by the grandeur of this place. Each was a giant in politics, but their feet were always firmly on the ground. How sorely we now miss them.

In his time as Leader, Gareth Williams dominated this House. He was formidable at the Dispatch Box, powerful in arming his own case, never afraid to strike and he was deadly with a wit that could disarm his opponents in an instant. Many great parliamentarians can deploy remorseless logic. Some have remarkable wit. Few have both. Lord Williams was one of those very few.

Gareth Williams used the same skills in leading on legislation, even when it was sometimes uncongenial to the House. He was sensitive to the mood of the House. His sharp mind unfailingly cut through the verbiage and went to the essence of the matter, which is, after all, the first duty of a revising Chamber. He may have taken many briefs at the Bar, but he needed no departmental brief here. He spoke always from the heart with true understanding and conviction.

Gareth Williams was a great Leader of the House. There are some who say that we need new ways of controlling our debates, but one only had to see him in action to see how misplaced that is. With a soft word, a quiet joke, or the merest lifting of an eyebrow, he steered the House past rocky places—a sure mark of the respect in which he was held by all.

Finally, a personal word: the relationship between the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition is never entirely easy, least of all at a time of radical change and experiment, of which Gareth Williams was such an advocate. But both sides, at their best, are driven by a sense of duty to the House. Gareth knew that. It was not only his door that was open, his mind was open too. One could always trust him, and sometimes one could even persuade him.

I grieve for Lady Williams at such an untimely and bitter loss and for the whole Williams family. I hope that it is some small consolation to her to know how widely that sense of loss is shared. This was a remarkable Leader of the House, a brilliant, straight and decent man and a truly memorable one.

Baroness Williams of Crosby

My Lords, may I say on behalf of these Benches that the House is a lesser place as a result of the death of Lord Williams of Mostyn? It is somehow appropriate that, as the summer begins to ebb from the skies, some of the light has left this House. Lord Williams brought to this place an extraordinary sense of warmth and magnanimity. It would be right to say that his loss will be mourned far beyond the Benches of this Chamber; he will be mourned by the staff of the House and by the many who worked with him and by those in his office. Wherever he walked around the House, people greeted him with a smile, knowing that he would be accessible to them and sensing strongly that he was their friend.

Lord Williams was in every possible way a brilliant man. He soared through the Bar and, as we all know, in 1992 he became Chairman of the Bar Council. He conducted himself in Swansea and later in London in the most remarkable way, dominating some of the most crucial law cases that have ever come before the courts. When he came into politics, having been elevated by Mr Kinnock, he rose extremely rapidly up the rungs of the ladder of politics. However, it is worth remembering that before he became a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office in 1997, he brought to his spokesmanship in opposition on Northern Ireland affairs his extraordinary capacity for seeking consensus among people fighting and battling against one another. Indeed, he played a very significant role at a difficult point in Northern Ireland history after the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly by bringing together people who had found it impossible to converse. He brought to bear his extraordinary ability for conciliation to influence them.

Once Gareth entered the Government, he played a distinguished role in the Home Office, then as Attorney-General and, finally, as Leader of the House. In that capacity, I should like to echo what we have all agreed: he brought to that role an incredible ability to get the House to understand how to work through some of the most controversial issues confronting it. Not only did he have an extraordinary sense of humour, he was able to deprecate himself. He was always modest and able to take into account the gifts and contributions of others. We shall miss him very greatly.

He was a radical. He once said that radicalism was part of the water in Wales: you drank it with your childhood. He was deeply radical and I am delighted that he was able to bring to completion two of his major objectives, which dated back to well before he entered this House and the Government: the idea of an independent commission to appoint judges and the concept of a supreme court. Those are two great monuments to his record as a politician and as a lawyer—achievements that go far beyond what most of us will ever attain in our lives.

He was also a radical influence on this House and, as the Lord Chancellor has said, brilliantly and successfully steered the work of the committee looking at the modernisation of our working practices. The only thing that he was not completely able to achieve was to make this House more democratic and representative. That task will now fall to his successor, Lady Amos. Along with the Leader of the Opposition I warmly welcome her to her new position. She, too, has great achievements to her credit and I am sure that she will bring to her new role the dignity, thoughtfulness and conscientiousness that she has shown already in the departmental ministerial roles that she has held as a member of the Government.

I say finally to Lady Williams and her family that Members on these Benches too share the huge sense of loss that they will undergo. We believe that she brought much light and happiness to Gareth and we are pleased that she was able to share so many happy years with him. We extend our deepest sympathy to her. All will find Gareth very difficult to replace.

Lord Craig of Radley

My Lords, it is a great privilege to be allowed to speak next. On behalf of all Cross-Bench Peers and myself, I pay tribute to Lord Williams of Mostyn. When he was last in this Chamber he was so much in control, so charming in manner, so ready as always with the disarming phrase, with the witty and pithy aside, that he seemed right at the very peak of his invariably excellent form. It was surely not unreasonable to expect him to remain a much respected, admired and popular leader of your Lordships' House for at least the remainder of this Parliament.

So, along with everyone both in this House and beyond, I was profoundly and deeply shocked and saddened by the news of his most untimely death. What a loss to the country, to the Government and this House, and to all his friends; but, most of all, a most tragic and grievous loss to his wife and family. On behalf of all Cross-Bench Peers I extend to them, one and all, our most heartfelt sympathy and condolences. He has sailed over the horizon where he still is, but now no longer seen or heard by those whom he left behind.

Those noble Lords who, like me, attended the funeral service in Great Tew Church last Monday will have marvelled at the poise and courage displayed throughout by Veena Lady Williams, and Imogen. Although a very private family man, Lord Williams would have been proud—and rightly proud—of them. We mourn for him, but remember him with great affection and admiration.

Leaders of your Lordships' House have to combine two very disparate attributes: strong partisanship and scrupulous fairness to all sides and Members of the House. In Lord Williams of Mostyn those commanding attributes were evident to all and never compromised, even though it was clear from a number of comments he made to me and to others that he did not find the dual role easy. All the more credit to him that he discharged it so well.

Peers on these Benches, and in particular those who sat to the right and behind him, could count on his assistance to be heard. He seemed to have eyes in the back of his head—perhaps an inherited Welsh gift— along with all the other gifts of intellect, radical compassion and great success in his chosen profession of the law, which he had developed and practised in, along with his affection for the Principality. Of course there were occasions when his views and one's own did not coincide, but he would always listen, even if his mind was already made up.

In the many fine obituaries for this remarkably talented and likeable man, I was struck by one phrase attributed to him when speaking about himself. It might even form a kind of colloquial epitaph. It describes the inner strength and sense of destiny of one of the most astute, charming and yet radical personalities that one could meet anywhere and at any time. According to his own account, he decided at the age of eight that he wished to be a barrister because he had the necessary characteristics, barking egomania allied to rat-like cunning". All who knew him, and in particular all those who knew him well, will grieve at his so abrupt and unexpected death. He will be greatly missed and long remembered. He lived up to the Welsh motto on his coat of arms, which translates to read, "The Truth Against the World".

3 p.m.

The Archbishop of Canterbury

My Lords, one of the marks of a good lawyer is surely that he or she should confer dignity upon those situations and those persons with whom they have to deal. It may well be that this House needs no such conferrals of dignity, but what has already been said this afternoon has indicated that sense of seriousness, that sense of enjoyment and that sense of broad vision which are always inseparable from dignity.

Perhaps I may remind your Lordships' House of the late Lord Williams's involvement, over many years, with the legal work of the Commonwealth and of his sympathy and involvement with Commonwealth lawyers, as well as his sustained involvement with issues surrounding prisoners' rights. In both of those respects, he showed himself to be as we entirely expected: a lawyer in the sense that I have already outlined. He was someone concerned with the conferral of dignity: the dignity that is shared by the partnership of the Commonwealth and the dignity that alas we are often reluctant to confer on those at the wrong end of the legal system.

To speak of dignity may sound somewhat pompous. All that has been said so far has indicated a point of which none needs to be reminded: the late Lord Williams was in no sense a pompous person, but one who, confident in his own dignity, was able to recognise it in and confer it upon all those around him.

On behalf of the Lords Spiritual, it is a great privilege for me to be able to pay tribute. All on these Benches found him to be a loyal and faithful friend, although not an uncritical one. He enabled us to play our part in this Chamber to the full. He provided help, support and welcome for all of us. To nervous newcomers in your Lordships' House, he was a great source of strength. I am personally particularly grieved that I had such a very short time in which to learn from him and to work with him but, before I first took my seat in your Lordships' House, I was already conscious of his work, his witness and his friendship.

It will not have escaped your Lordships' notice that we shared one or two things in common that had perhaps a little to do with the water of early childhood already described and an involvement—not restricted to the two of us in this House, I am happy to say—with Swansea. To be welcomed to this House by someone with whom I felt instantly at home was a great bonus and a great benefit.

Reference has been made to the passionate concern of Lord Williams for involvement in the affairs of his native land. Some have spoken of the way in which the Welsh political tradition has been shaped by ideals of corporate and co-operative work to such an extent that Welsh people make naturally good lawyers. Those critical voices that ascribe the legal enthusiasms of the Welsh to less salutary and salubrious motivations should be silent perhaps at this point and allow the benefit of the doubt to those of us who share that lineage.

One who heard it described a speech by Lord Williams, in which he referred to his ancestry and his lineage, as the most moving moment he had ever encountered in the House. Although I belong to a different branch of the ubiquitous Williams clan in Wales, I should like to quote from those words with some sense of identification and some sense of the powerful contribution that they make to our common sense, in every sense, in the House. The remarks were made during a debate on the future of this Chamber. He referred to pride in family, history and ancestry. Quoting Yeats, he said of his ancestors, "they are no petty people". He spoke of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather; of those who suffered in difficult times in Wales in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and he spoke of those who live unremarked, though not unremarkable, lives of duty and service. He continued: There are millions like them in our country today. All I would say is this: 'they are no petty people'".—[Official Report, 15/10/98; col. 1165.] Lord Williams was no petty person. It is with a great sense of corporate love and pride that we can pay tribute to that absolute lack of pettiness; that instinctive and unfussy dignity; that wit and that sense of service which we miss so sorely—although not as sorely, we know, as his family. He was no petty person.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, perhaps the House will allow me to pay tribute to my late noble and learned friend in a very personal way as a friend and a colleague.

Gareth Williams and I joined the House together almost exactly 11 years ago this month. We sat together on the furthest Back Bench on the Opposition side of the House, reassuring each other about our maiden speeches and daring each other to intervene in Question Time. Already he had started using the alternative Hansard, to which the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor referred, in terms of his sotto voce interventions, to encourage me.

After a while, we both graduated and moved on to the same crowded room in the cross-corridor. Our friendship deepened because I found—perhaps because Gareth was such a clever person—that he always had time for a political discussion, a personal problem or a good political gossip over a large tea. He never seemed to eat until teatime in the afternoon, so it was always a splendid occasion on which to have a chat.

Even then he had begun what became a long-running refrain—one could almost call it a joke— about the appalling financial sacrifice of spending time as a parliamentarian compared to the time-based fees of a top QC. Only three weeks ago I congratulated him on the swift passage of a piece of complicated business in the House. He turned to me with the instant response that, For this money, you don't get more than 12 minutes". In the mid-1990s we both graduated to the Opposition Front Bench and then became Ministers together following the Labour victory in 1997. We of course worked most intensely and collaboratively together as Leader and Deputy Leader of the House from 1998–2001. Throughout all those years, Gareth was an incomparable source of strength. He was an intellectual mentor and a warm and wonderful colleague and companion.

Above all, he made life enjoyable, both for me and for all those around him. He could lighten the mood of any difficult meeting with a telling anecdote or mischievous snippet that he had culled from that morning's tabloids. As many of your Lordships will know, he was always the first to read the Sun newspaper. Put simply, he made us feel better; he made us laugh.

Those who have been the target of his wit and mimicry may know that it was not always benign, but whether he was recounting some apparently bizarre incident across the dinner table or using a humorous line to reinforce a serious point there was always his twinkle and his half smile. I have often said that if we relied on Gareth to choose the best arguments and— more important, perhaps—the best wine, all would be well, and it usually was.

But it was not only at Westminster that we shared interests and friendships. We often exchanged experiences of family weekends in the Cotswolds or the Chilterns—walking, reading or making our amateur attempts at gardening. For me, one of the most affecting moments of the past two weeks since Gareth's death was to be shown by Veena the glorious blossoming flowers that he had proudly grown from seed and the empty pots that he had chosen for the autumn's planting. To be shown that by Veena and to know the strength of their relationship and the wonderful times that they had at Evenlode was indeed moving.

Veena has asked me if I would personally convey to all your Lordships her great thanks for the kindness and warmth of your sympathies and for the way in which you have all spoken and written to her following Gareth's death.

I would not be true to myself or to him if I ended my personal tribute without mentioning our most important joint political endeavour—the reform of your Lordships' House. It was during the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999 that the whole political world recognised finally my late noble and learned friend's profound social radicalism and deep political commitment. He was a beacon of principle then, as he had been to those who knew him throughout his life.

The most reverend Primate has already quoted from one of my late noble and learned friend's speeches. Perhaps I may also quote briefly from what he said on another occasion. He spoke of his principled objection to the parliamentary role of the hereditary peerage— of his "adamant purpose"—but he also emphasised his understanding of the hurt and disappointment felt by individual Peers. He continued: I mentioned that I worked in Wales for a time. When I was there I tried to guess at the hurt, disappointment and bewilderment of miners who were dispossessed of their daily work …Disappointment and enforced change come to us all, and those I know and care for in those mining communities are certainly not strangers to them. That is not to oppose ignobly the disappointment of one class of our fellow citizens against the disappointment of another. It is stating, I hope gently and with understanding, the fact that change must come to every one of us".—[Official Report, 30/3/99; col. 426.] That was true Gareth Williams, a combination of true principle and true humanity. I will miss him very much, as I am sure we all will.

Lord Rogan

My Lords, when I first entered this House, many showed me much kindness, helped me to understand its workings and made me feel comfortable. Several were especially generous with their time and patience, and none more so than Lord Williams of Mostyn.

Gareth, the man, will be greatly missed by his wife and family circle, to whom we send our deepest sympathy, and Lord Williams, the politician, will be greatly missed by this House and more widely afield. As noble Lords have mentioned, among his other duties he dealt with Northern Ireland affairs in this House. Many of us with an interest in Northern Ireland affairs will fondly remember invitations to his room for those round-table discussions, facilitated by his soft yet steely Welsh voice and a sense of humour that could defuse the most difficult situations.

Lord Williams visited Northern Ireland often, and on those occasions he would host luncheon and dinner parties to which the most diverse guests would be invited. I was last in his company during the recess when he hosted such a dinner party in Government House. Among those present in the gathering were— shall I say—two interesting guests. I sensed that they felt as uncomfortable in my presence as I certainly was in theirs, but by the pudding stage Gareth, with his quiet Welsh charm, had succeeded in having us all enjoy a lively and animated discussion. Perhaps a better understanding followed from the dinner.

In Ulster, we are not quick to heap praise on people, but when we do one of the best compliments that we can bestow on anyone is to say, "He was a brave fellow". Gareth, Lord Williams of Mostyn, was a firm friend, a true Welsh gentleman and a brave fellow.

Baroness Strange

My Lords, Lord Williams of Mostyn, like me, loved dogs and flowers. A week before he died he sent me some seeds of his rare white perpetual sweet pea. I never wrote to thank him; I should like to say thank you now.

Lord Eatwell

My Lords, Lord Williams of Mostyn was a member of Queens' College, Cambridge, the college of which I am president and of which, over the past several years, Gareth Williams was an active member, particularly in support of young law students in the college.

We have already heard this afternoon that Gareth Williams combined a steely radicalism with courtesy, logic and wit—and a finely tuned sense of the possible. Those characteristics were already present in his student days. The eminent international lawyer, Sir Derek Bowett, arrived at Queens' as a young lecturer in law in 1960 to find that living in the rooms opposite his was a young Welshman, courteous in manner but somewhat unkempt in appearance, with a preference, Bowett notes, for sweaters without the benefit of a shirt underneath". These were the days when male undergraduates typically wore a tie, a tweed jacket and grey flannels.

To secure a scholarship at the Middle Temple, Gareth—for that unkempt Welshman was he—had first to pass an interview with the formidable Arthur Armitage, the then president of Queens'. Bowett's recommendation that Gareth appear for the interview in suit, tie and polished shoes was greeted with a vigorous diatribe against middle-class values, superficiality and the charade of interviews. Meeting Armitage later in the day, Bowett was therefore astonished to be greeted by the comment, I saw that pupil of yours, Gareth Williams. Bright chap, but I didn't recognise him". Gareth was learning the art of the possible. He had turned up in his suit.

Other noble Lords have commented on Gareth's brilliant legal mind. However, perhaps because of his rebellious nature, he did rather poorly as an undergraduate, being rescued from a third class degree only by a truly brilliant essay on jurisprudence. The consequence was a remarkably unbalanced combination of a rather poor second class degree and the reward of the most prestigious university prize—for jurisprudence— an imbalance that has never been equalled before or since. Gareth then shone in the following post-graduate year with first class honours in the LL B.

There are important clues in those stories to Gareth's subsequent career. He became, of course, a brilliant criminal barrister and later libel barrister, but he came into his own when he entered your Lordships' House and became a lawyer politician. Here he put to good use the philosophical, social and moral judgments that he displayed in his work on jurisprudence. That is where his true strength lay—a moral commitment allied to a mature understanding of the forces that shape and change the law, politics and society. It is from those strengths that this Government, this House and the country have benefited.

Gareth saw himself as a radical. As the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, reminded us, he was fond of saying that it must be something in the water in Wales. I like to think that his effective application of the radicalism that he imbibed in Wales had something to do with his time beside the waters of the Cam.

Lord Renton

My Lords, although Lord Williams of Mostyn was 33 years younger than me and had been in Parliament 47 years fewer, he always made me feel younger. He was a good listener and respected different opinions, but he was candid in his reply to them. I have known many Leaders of both Houses and Lord Chancellors, but Gareth will always remain in my mind as being a man and parliamentarian of outstanding and lovable qualities.

Lord Carter

My Lords, I should like to say a few words about the skill and the charm of Gareth Williams outside the Chamber. We are all familiar with his skill in the Chamber. I had the privilege of working with him for five years in opposition; indeed, I believe that his first appointment on the Front Bench in opposition was to succeed me as the health spokesman. As Chief Whip, I worked with him as a Minister for four years and Leader for just over a year. He was a marvellous colleague and superb comrade in arms.

I shall also remember Gareth's work outside the Chamber. On a number of occasions when he was a Minister—but more particularly when he was Leader—I would go to him as Chief Whip and say, "Gareth, we have a problem". The opposition parties or Back-Benchers would be called in to discuss the problem and subjected to that particular blend of Welsh wit and charm. The problem would somehow disappear, and the opposition would leave, feeling slightly puzzled about the exact whereabouts of the victory that they had confidently expected, and I would be a much relieved Chief Whip.

Gareth was a true radical. It is indeed a sad irony that we shall have to debate without the benefit of his wit and wisdom the reforms to the relationship between the judiciary and executive, which he had long championed.

What I shall remember about Gareth is his sense of fun. One could not be in any meeting with him for any length of time before laughter would break in. He was a lovely man and I shall miss him very much indeed.

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