Peers mourn the loss of “wise and generous” Lord Kingsland

July 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

The Leader of the House of Lords led tributes to Lord Kingsland yesterday.

Baroness Royall described the former Shadow Lord Chancellor, who was 67, as a great loss to the Lords.

The Lord Speaker, who announced his death to the Lords, called him “a wise and generous man and an admirable parliamentarian.”

The leaders of the Lib Dem, Conserative and crossbench peers also paid tribute to Lord Kingsland, a former leader of the Tory group of MEPs and a senior judge. He died on Sunday.

“This House has lost one of its most warmly and widely regarded Members,” Baroness Royall said.

“Though the lawyers of this House may find it hard to believe, there are times when this House does not want to listen to lawyers—but not Christopher Kingsland.

“This House always wanted to listen to Christopher Kingsland, though from these Benches—as I can personally testify—it was not always a comfortable experience.

“His forensic skills in debating and analysing legislation meant that taking a Bill through this House with Christopher as your opposition was one of the toughest jobs that a Minister has to do.”

Baroness Royall reminded peers that Lord Kinsland had been called to the Bar in 1972 and became a QC in 1988.

“His love of the law and his brilliant legal mind saw him appointed as a recorder and subsequently a deputy High Court judge, work he managed successfully to combine with his work in this House,” she said.

“Before he entered your Lordships’ House in 1994, Lord Kingsland served as a Member of the European Parliament, rising to become his party’s Chief Whip and leader of the Conservative group of MEPs.

“It was during this time in the European Parliament that I first met Christopher.

“I still recall the twinkle in his eye and the wonderful sense of humour which he would, in time, use to such great and painful effect against the government Front Bench in this House.

“I regard it as a great privilege to have sparred with him across the Dispatch Box.”

Lord Strathclyde, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, said Lord Kingsland was one of the hardest-working Members of the Opposition.

“In his 15 years in the Lords, he built up a formidable reputation for his razor-sharp intelligence and eloquence,” he said.

“The House has lost a hard-working servant of the nation, and we on these Benches have lost a good loyal friend who was always happy to lend a hand, even before he was asked.

“He had a tremendous sense of the value of our nation’s ancestral constitution, which he understood deeply, and he was greatly saddened by the destruction of the office of Lord Chancellor—not for himself, as there are few as devoid of ego as was Lord Kingsland, but for the loss of a unique institution that he believed worked so well.

“Indeed, so great were his enthusiasm and dedication that when I spoke to him last week to try to limit the amount of time that he was spending in the Chamber, he insisted that he was well, enjoying himself and could not bear to sit on the sidelines.

“It was this tenacious spirit that ensured that the Government did not get their way when they repeatedly tried to remove the right to trial by jury.

“It is not too much to say that his loss will be keenly felt across the political boundaries that divide this House.

“I held Lord Kingsland in the highest esteem and with the greatest affection. His was a life of public duty and public service, and it will be a long time before we see one like him again.”

Lord McNally, Lib Dem leader in the Lords, said that Lord Kingsland had “so much more to offer and was someone who stretched across this House to all Benches in terms of friendship and respect for the qualities that he brought to this House.”

“Lord Kingsland was, indeed, a lawyers’ lawyer, but, as has already been hinted, he was also a parliamentarians’ parliamentarian,” he said.

“The last time that I debated with him was during the debate on the Privy Council.

“I can see him hunched over that Box—well briefed, articulate, devoid of malice or ideology, but razor sharp.

“It is indeed a loss to those Benches and to any prospective office that he may have held, but, much more, it is the loss of a very decent man and a very good friend to all of us.”

Baroness D’Souza, convenor of the crossbench peers, said the death came as a “terrible shock.”

“I think immediately of Lord Kingsland’s wife and stepchildren and of his many devoted friends and colleagues in your Lordships’ House and far beyond. I offer them my sympathies on behalf of the Cross Benches,” she said.

“Although, once again, the shock is very great, I and his friends and family may be comforted to know that his last night was a happy one, spent among those who deeply respected him during his long and very distinguished career in Europe, in the Territorial Army, at the Bar and in this House.”

For the Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Newcastle gave thanks for the life of Lord Kingsland.

“He was a dedicated public servant and I, for one, marvelled at his mastery of legal affairs, his skill in debate and the clarity of his mind, especially, as far as I could see, as he never ever used written notes,” he said.

“Meticulous attention to detail and careful and thorough preparation were his hallmarks. He was never polemical and was genuinely and warmly regarded on all sides of this House.

“We remember his integrity, his graciousness, his humility and his lightness of touch, as befits a skilled and passionate sailor.

“He will be much missed by all of us, and from these Benches we send our prayers and deepest sympathy to Lady Kingsland and her family.”


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