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Tributes (Speaker Weatherill)

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:54 pm on 10th May 2007.

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Photo of Robert Key Robert Key Conservative, Salisbury 12:54 pm, 10th May 2007

Mr. Speaker Weatherill was dragged to the Chair in the same year I was elected. Fulsome tributes have been paid, and I concur with them all. Like all good parliamentarians, he had a full life outside Parliament. That fact was brought home to me last September, when I attended the 80th birthday party of a mutual friend. I was struck by the enormous loyalty that he showed to his old school friends and that they showed to him. I realised, too, that his family were so important to him.

His sartorial elegance was legendary, but he also had a sense of fun, and, being a tailor, he was intensely practical. I remember that in the hot summer of 1983 I went to him in the Chair and said, "Mr. Speaker, it's really very hot and stuffy in here—could you ask for the ventilation to be improved?" He said, "You should wear short-sleeved shirts, like me." I have always taken that advice as the temperature rises.