Thursday, July 01, 2010

Lord Peter Walker 1932 - 2010

I first met Peter Walker when he was Secretary of State for Wales. It was 1987, and I was Chairman of Montgomeryshire District Council. The occasion was a meeting between him and leaders of Welsh local authorities in Cardiff City Hall. I made a contribution which caught the ear of the Secretary of State, and he came over for a chat after the meeting was over. The next time I met him, he invited me to become Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales, and a Board Member of the WDA and Wales Tourist Board. I daresay I'd been 'checked out', but he must have been taking something of a 'flyer' on me. From then on I saw quite a lot of him, and considered him to be a good friend. He was incredibly decisive and dynamic, but disguised it all in a laid back style. Both he and his successor as Welsh Secretary, Lord David Hunt were hugely kind and supportive to me, at what was a very difficult time for those of us who were working for the Welsh 'Quangocracy' at the time. When I later became involved in active party politics in Montgomeryshire, Peter always came to support me in elections. He was one of the kindest and most wise politicians I ever had the privilege to meet. The party that a small group of us gave in his honour when he retired from the Cabinet in 1990, will live on in my memory for ever. I've never heard a single negative word from any of those who worked with him at that time. The last time I saw Peter was when he himself arranged a 'retirement party' for Lord Roberts of Conwy at the Carleton Club a couple of years ago.

Peter Edward Walker, Baron Walker of Worcester was buried at a private funeral today. He has come into my mind several times during the day. I hope there will be a memeorial service that I can attend. Not only was Peter Wlker a man I greatly admired, and a good friend, but his vision of what constitutes Conservative politics was very much the same as mine. In my opinion, one of the foremost influences on Conservative Party thinking in the twentieth century has gone. I sense that we have lost something special.


bonetired said...

As a Worcester man (although ex-Oswestry) I whole heartedly endorse what you have written. I wish his son Robin all the best as the new MP for the city.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Great guy - sad that he has left us for pastures anew. RIP Lord Peter Walker.