Trusted advisor to left and right

Politics/ valued aide
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The Independent Online
LORD Goodman, solicitor to the rich and famous and a special adviser to Harold Wilson, died on Friday night, it was announced yesterday.

In a remarkable career, the 81-year-old cross-bench peer was involved deeply in the politics of the Sixties and Seventies, was chairman of the Arts Council and the Housing Corporation and gave legal advice to the Prince of Wales following the break-up of his marriage.

Lord Goodman, a teetotal, non-smoking bachelor, died in a nursing home in Highgate, north London, after a long illness. He received his peerage during Mr Wilson's premiership in 1965, but advised leaders of all the main political parties. He was made a Companion of Honour by Edward Heath, a close friend.

"He was a very remarkable figure and played an extremely prominent part in public life, although sometimes behind the scenes, for many years," said Sir Edward. "Prime ministers and ministers will all remember him with gratitude for his unfailingly sound advice, and the arts will ever be grateful to him for his splendid work as chairman of the Arts Council."

Known as a behind-the-scenes "fixer", Lord Goodman was one of the few close advisers to MrWilson who were constantly consulted. Tony Benn, the former Labour minister, said: "Lord Goodman was a supreme negotiator and a distinguished lawyer. Harold Wilson used him as a troubleshooter on a number of occasions and possibly his greatest contribution was the help he gave Jennie Lee to get the Open University off the ground."

The son of an export dealerfrom South Africa, Arnold Goodman was born in London and went to Cambridge, where he gained a double first in law.During the war he served with an anti-aircraft battery, reaching the rank of Major.

Returning to law after the war, he set up his own firm, Goodman, Derrick & Co. His first significant court victory was winning substantial libel damages in 1957 for three leading figures in the Labour Party, Aneurin Bevan, Richard Crossman and Morgan Phillips, who had been accused by the Spectator ofdrunken behaviour in Venice.

He became first Mr Wilson's, and then Mr Heath's, emissary to Rhodesia, attempting to prevent Ian Smith's unilateral declaration of independence. A former chairman of the Newspaper Publishers' Association, Lord Goodman also headed British Lion Films and the Observer Trust.