2015 saw the death of a number of senior peers. I have written about the losses in a post on my own blog. One of the most notable was that of Lord Howe of Aberavon. Geoffrey Howe was a leading Cabinet minister – Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons – before his dramatic resignation in 1990 triggered the events leading to Margaret Thatcher’s loss of the Conservative party leadership and the premiership.
Once elevated to the Lords, he took to the House (in a way that Margaret Thatcher did not) and was a regular contributor to proceedings. His quiet voice and demeanour masked a steely determination. Once he was persuaded that a cause needed to be pursued, he was tireless in pursuit of it. He was a leading figure in arguing the case for the existing House of Lords. He was active in the House until he retired shortly before his death. He could regularly be seen walking through the Royal Gallery on the way from his office to the chamber, where he took his place on the privy council bench. Although he could have opted for a quiet life many years ago, he continued to contribute to debates on a range of issues. He was a prime example of a true public servant.