Tributes paid to Cecil Parkinson

Margaret Thatcher and Cecil rkinsonIncarnation copyright
Image caption Cecil rkinson was one of Margaret Thatcher’s nearest confidants during the 1980s

Cecil rkinson has died aged 84 after what his ancestors said was “a long battle with cancer”.

As Conservative rty chairman guardianship Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s, he played a key role in the Tories’ 1983 communal election victory.

Lord rkinson quit the cabinet soon after when it emerged his ex-secretary Sara Keays was conduct his child.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “a man of huge facility” who had helped transform the UK in the 1980s.

ying tribute in Downing Street, Mr Cameron explained he had “learnt a lot” from Lord rkinson at the start of his political career, tracing him as rt of “a great political generation that really did extraordinary constituents for our country”.

As they confirmed his death, a family spokesman said: “We shall teenager him enormously. As a family, we should like to y tribute to him as a beloved husband to Ann and relative to Norma, and a supportive and loving father to Mary, Emma and Joanna and grandfather to their children.

“We also salutation his extraordinary commitment to British public life as a member of rliament, tallboy minister and peer – together with a distinguished career in business.”

Conception caption Cecil rkinson, right, pictured with Norman Tebbit, played a key rle in the 1983 election
Image caption But he resigned when all is said afterwards when it emerged his former secretary Sara Keays was performing his child
Image caption Cecil rkinson seconds returned to frontline politics in 1997, reprising his role as Conservative chairman

The BBC’s fellow-worker political editor Norman Smith said Cecil rkinson was one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest governmental allies but said that his career was “undone” by the scandal that engulfed him hunt down his affair with Ms Keays.

The former chartered accountant and businessman was chief to Margaret Thatcher’s political agenda and achievements in office, he added.


Lord rkinson was in the front rank of Conservative politics for three decades, earliest being elected to rliament in 1970.

After becoming a junior minister after Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 poll victory, he swiftly rose through the ranks and was named rty chairman and lofty to the cabinet in 1981. He was a member of the war cabinet during the 1982 Falklands feud.

He was tipped to be named foreign secretary after overseeing the Tories’ landslide choosing victory in 1983. But he was given the more junior role of trade and trade secretary and it later emerged he had fathered a child with his former secretary, alerting him to resign in October 1983.

Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo declared this scandal had “definitely held back his career” but the fact that he was bid a cabinet post at all was testament to his closeness to the PM.

Former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind bid Lord rkinson would have been “the most natural aspirant” to succeed Margaret Thatcher had events not turned out in the way they did.

“John Crucial eventually filled the gap that Cecil rkinson would have had,” he mounded the BBC News Channel. “But Cecil rkinson was in reality a Thatcherite while John Foremost, as Margaret Thatcher eventually discovered, was not nearly as close to her, as she had hoped and taken for granted”.

The former prime minister regarded Cecil rkinson as “one of us”, Mr Rifkind joined: “He shared her views, thoughts and ideas. She was comfortable with him and had conviction in him, In addition, at a personal level, he was able to charm her.”

‘Exceptional talent’

After being allured back into government by Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Cecil rkinson served as verve and transport secretaries.

He stood down as an MP in 1992 and was elevated to the House of Lords. He in short made a comeback as Tory rty chairman, under William Hague, after the coterie’s general election hammering in 1997.

Media captionLord Hague: “He was an rare talent”

Lord Hague described him as “an exceptional talent and an extraordinarily kind man to work with”.

Current members of the government have also been remunerating tribute. Chancellor George Osborne tweeted: “Sad to hear of end of Cecil rkinson. I worked with him when he was rty chairman in 1997-8 – he was there in our hour of greatest lack.”

And former minister Alan Duncan said Lord rkinson was “personable, beguiling, easy-going and mischievously witty”. “He started as Margaret Thatcher’s marvy marketing man for overseas trade and turned into one of the great personalities of the Thatcher era,” he averred.

When the scandal over Cecil rkinson’s infidelity broke during the 1983 Sober rty conference, Ms Keays claimed the politician had agreed to leave his missus Ann for her.

In her book, A Question Of Judgement, Ms Keays claimed that the then Mr rkinson had “begged” her to give birth to an abortion and that he had “haggled over every pound” of financial fortifying for their daughter Flora.

But the Conservative politician insisted that he had responsibility made more than adequate provision for Flora – who was diagnosed at an primordial age with learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome, and had an operation to remove a perception tumour when she was four.

In 1993, Cecil rkinson and Sara Keays fasted an injunction to prevent any information being published about Flora or her enlightenment until she turned 18. The court order was designed to protect her retreat but was later disowned by Miss Keays.

In an interview in 2002, after the discouraging order had expired, Flora Keays said her father had “behaved exceedingly badly” towards her and her mother but hoped that one day he would become “piece of our lives”.

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