Bikers join in tribute to Milligan

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The Independent Online
A FORMER prime minister, the Conservative Party chairman and several ministers of state joined scores of MPs and three bikers yesterday in a service of thanksgiving for the life and work of Stephen Milligan, the MP who was found dead at his west London home in bizarre circumstances in February, writes Simon Midgley.

Sir Edward Heath, Sir Norman Fowler, William Waldegrave, Michael Portillo, Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker of the House, and John Birt, Director-General of the BBC, joined relatives, friends and former journalist colleagues of the MP for the hour-long service in St Margaret's Church, Westminster. Sir Peter Hordern MP gave the address and Jonathan Aitken MP, for whom Mr Milligan had worked as parliamentary private secretary, read the lesson. Mr Milligan's brother, Brian, a BBC TV reporter, read from the William Wordsworth poem Character Of The Happy Warrior.

Also in the congregation were a trio of bikers from his old constituency of Eastleigh in Hampshire, who said they had come to show their respect for a good local MP who had campaigned for the rights of motorcyclists.

Sir Peter Hordern paid tribute to Mr Milligan's ability as a parliamentary speaker, his sense of humour, capacity for speaking his mind, determination to do the right thing and passionate convictions. Mr Milligan was, he said, a 'one-nation Tory' who had made industrial relations and Europe his principal interests in the past 20 years.

'Binzy', 36, from the Motorcycle Action Group in Hampshire, said Mr Milligan tried to help all his constituents, including campaigning bikers. The MP had even joined MAG, although he was not a regular biker. He said: 'Whoever takes over from him, if they do half as good a job as Stephen did, they will be doing well.'

Major's double trial, page 6