Obituary: Lord Hatch of Lusby

DURING the 40 years I knew John Hatch I always respected him but was like everyone else often irritated by him, writes Lord Campbell of Eskan (further to the obituary by Lord Jenkins of Putney, 13 October).

We usually sat next to each other at the back of the Labour Benches in the House of Lords. When I was made a Life Peer in 1966 his 'congratulatory' letter said that he was surprised that I should have accepted membership of so reactionary an assembly. When he was himself ennobled I wrote that I didn't know whether he remembered what he'd written to me but that I wholeheartedly congratulated their Lordships on his joining them.

He was, as Hugh Jenkins writes, a man of complete integrity and a man with deep and unswerving convictions and sense of commitment, especially about the Third World. He was untiring - even after heart surgery - in his homework before he made a speech in the House or after questions. The questions he asked always needed asking and the things he said always needed saying.

He turned the government front bench purple with anger when he pressed his questions and often irritated his colleagues - but his apparent insensitivity, and what must have seemed like bad manners to many of us on all sides of the House, were a symptom of his moral courage and his own conviction that he was right - which he almost always was.