Death of Lord Newton of Braintree

Lord Norton

Lord Newton of Braintree

The death of Lord Newton of Braintree, at the age of 74, has deprived Parliament of what one blog has described as one of the good guys in politics.   Tony Newton served not only as a conscientious MP but also as Social Security Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons.  He entered the Lords in 1997 and was an active member of the House.  Indeed, he was contributing to proceedings until only a few days ago.   He had been in ill-health for some time and attended the House carrying a portable oxygen cylinder, either pulling it along or leaving it by the chamber when he was in to speak.   He was regularly on his feet in the chamber, not least in recent months as a critic of Government policy.  Despite his illness, he was also keen to be in to support the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber, arguing the case for reform but against election of the second chamber.  His experience in parliamentary business management was extremely valuable to the campaign.  

I got to know him as Leader of the Commons and it was as a former Leader that I asked him to be one of my two supporters when I entered the Lords.  (The other was former Speaker, Lord Weatherill.)    He was well-known for being a chain-smoker and needed a cigarette even before the ceremony.  He was utterly trustworthy and dedicated to politics – he admitted he was the archetycal career politician.   He was assiduous in his application to public service, basically putting his duty above all else.   He will be sadly missed.

4 comments for “Death of Lord Newton of Braintree

  1. tory boy
    27/03/2012 at 7:20 pm

    Lord Newton was a very nice man, I remember watching the Committee Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill (in the public gallery), he would always smile at members of the public in a friendly and caring manner. What was his illness it certainly was not visible to me, apart from his walking stick.

  2. MilesJSD
    28/03/2012 at 2:09 am

    and as Lord Newton
    sadly missed
    in deed
    as well as in word.

  3. Twm O'r Nant
    28/03/2012 at 6:17 am

    According to Lord norton he found breathing difficult eventually, and he had been smoking cigarettes, which was in theory a pleasure, but in fact a cumulative pain. The nicotine kick is good but the pain on the lungs get worse and worse so’s you dream you are drowning. You ARE! In your own phlegm.
    The final stages of lung cancer are gruesome in the extreme; hideous to observe.
    The lungs accumulate the phlegm, which has a jelly like consistency, until they can hold no more and then the sufferer coughs and coughs and coughs until it comes out in one vast dollop weighing about as much as the lungs can carry, say 1 kilo or more of very heavy phlegm.

    The oxygen cylinder allows the sufferer to get concentrated air through that part of a lung which is still functioning and not coated with phlegm.

    He was responsible for people’s ciggie and beer allowance, on social security, and did a very good job for Mrs Thatcher.

  4. MilesJSD
    28/03/2012 at 9:24 am

    I don’t know what armed or ‘harms-way’ peace-keeping service Lord Newton did,

    but those trained as bayonet-wielding soldiers (especially in WW1 this was necessary) would have been ‘drilled’ to smoke a cigaratte, whether they liked it or not, just to give them a rapid intake of stimulating nicotine directly into the bloodstream to help their “courage and fitness” factor for such distressful violence.

    To this day to some men it is still more of a ‘last sacrament’ than is the Holy Mass or Eucharist;
    simply because that was the last thing a soldier did with his mates, before they charged and all his mates were machine-gunned down,
    and (perhaps) he alone is left to maintain that last ‘eternal’ act of remembrance.

    Whatever, any smoker should suffer personal pains intensely to give-up-smoking-a drug.

    So to whom it may concern:
    remember that in over 90% of smoker’s-lung-cancer, by the time it shows up and gets troublesome, it is too late:
    too late for any doctor or hospital to cure or reverse it.
    So, get under the doctor now, and stay there until you’ve got yourself off those ‘cancer sticks’.

    God helps those who help themselves
    But God help those who get caught “helping themselves”

    so make the surgery your new mateship place, every day, three times a week, whatever;
    otherwise you may most surely become most horribly ‘Arrested, Carried Off in Pieces’.

    ——— and Rest in peace ———-lest you forget——————-

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