Queen leads the tributes to a 'decent, kindly' statesman

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The Queen and leading politicians led tributes last night for Lord Callaghan. The former Labour prime minister, who died yesterday aged 92, was described by his closest friends and colleagues as a "decent, kindly man" who would be "mourned across the world".

The Queen and leading politicians led tributes last night for Lord Callaghan. The former Labour prime minister, who died yesterday aged 92, was described by his closest friends and colleagues as a "decent, kindly man" who would be "mourned across the world".

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the Queen was "sending a private message of sympathy to the family".

Lord Healey, who served as Chancellor in the Callaghan government from 1976 to 1979, remembered the former Labour leader as "a very good friend and colleague from the war on. He was a brilliant Prime Minister. He had a very extraordinary skill for picking on the issues that mattered."

Baroness Thatcher, who succeeded Lord Callagahan as Prime Minister, said: "Jim Callaghan was a formidable opponent, one who could best me across the dispatch box. Despite our disagreements, I always respected him because I know he was moved by deep patriotism."

Lord Hattersley, a cabinet colleague from the late 70s, said: "He was a decent, kindly man who helped my generation of politicians immensely."

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: "Jim Callaghan's life-long commitment was to help those most in need."

Tony Benn, who had known Lord Callaghan since Labour's first post-war government under Clement Attlee and served as Energy Secretary in his Cabinet, said: "He was on the trade union right of the party, but he always spoke his mind and I admired him for that. He had a terrible job with no majority from the period 1976 to 1979. It was a very difficult period, but my respect for him remained unaffected."

Tam Dalyell, Labour's longest-serving MP, said: "He wasn't always 'Sunny Jim' because he could be very sharp, but all who worked with him will remember him with affection."

The former Tory party chairman Lord Tebbit said: "He was far from the worst post-war Prime Minister. He was always kind and personally generous in his dealings with me. He was the last Prime Minister to have fought for his country. He had no need to boast that he was tough on terrorism. He was - and quietly so."

Comments