The Death of an MP: 'The Reaction: He was one of the family'

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN MILLIGAN became almost 'one of the family' to Dr Stuart Roath, aged 64, his wife Josephine and their son David, aged 27.

The Eastleigh MP spent one night a week at the couple's beautiful home in Boyatt Lane, Eastleigh, Hampshire, and had become inseparable from the family.

Last night Dr Roath, who is a specialist in blood disorders working at the Southampton Hospitals Medical School, spoke of his shock at hearing the news of the MP's death.

He said: 'He was a very frequent guest of the family at our home over the last two and a half years - since he became a Conservative candidate and he was almost like a member of the family. We got to know him quite well. We are members of the local Conservative Party and Stephen used this as his Hampshire home when he came down on constituency business and held surgeries.

'He generally stayed over here at least once a week. I think it is always a shock when someone dies unexpectedly but it is an even greater shock to us to hear about the apparant circumstances of Stephen's death.

'He was a very cheerful and very conscientious MP and he really had his constituency very much at heart. Although he must have had some ideas of political ambition, he was taking it very much one stage at a time.'

Dr Roath said: 'I would describe him as a middle of the road heterosexual. He was not particularly a ladies' man but I would never have considered him anything other than your average heterosexual.

'He was friendly with a woman who works in the media and she turned up with him to consituency events, but I did not know if she was a girlfriend. Certainly he never brought any male friends here.'

Mrs Roath added: 'I found Stephen to be a delightful person and I find it impossible to believe any of the rumours that we have heard, but we will await developments. However, the man in the rumours is not the man I knew. He seemed very caring, very intelligent and very nice.'

Sir Leslie Loader, president of the Eastleigh Conservative Association, said: 'It's terribly sad. He was a first class member of Parliament and we were very proud of him. This is a terrible shock.'

The secretary of Eastleigh Conservative Association, Mrs Beryl Priday, said the MP had been prepared to listen to people and was a caring man.

She said: 'He was always concerned that he was doing as much as he could for people. It's a very, very sad loss. Everyone is stunned.'