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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 September, 2003, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Tributes to a superb wit
Lord Williams of Mostyn
Lord Williams of Mostyn had been a barrister
A man renowned for his wit and legal brain is how friends and colleagues have been remembering Lord Williams of Mostyn, who died on Saturday.

Leading the tributes was the prime minister who fondly recalled his humorous exchanges at regular Thursday cabinet meetings.

"A superb and entertaining speaker, he used his wit and general humour time and time again to diffuse difficult situations in the Lords," Mr Blair added.

Lord Newby, the Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman in the Lords, had similar recollections.

"Lord Williams was one of the most widely respected members of the House of Lords, combining a delightful wit with a complete mastery of his brief.

He had a warmth and a twinkle which gave great humanity to his cleverness
Baroness Jay

"This represents a great loss to the House of Lords as a whole."

His predecessor as Leader of the Lords, Baroness Jay, agreed.

"He was somebody whom I admired very greatly, she said.

"He was a very, very articulate and clever person, but had a warmth and a twinkle which gave great humanity to his cleverness."

And his passing will particularly be mourned in his beloved Wales where he was born and brought up.

Welsh heritage

Wales's First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, said: "Only yesterday I was thinking of him as I drove back from Prestatyn to Cardiff and saw the house on the hill where he was brought up.

"Son of the village schoolmaster of Mostyn, I first got to know him when he became a member of the shadow Welsh affairs team 10 years ago.

"He was an immensely valuable, wise and funny member of the team. He has been a superb leader of the Lords, one of the best since World War II."

But it is not just in political life he will be remembered.

Children have lost a wise and great champion for children
Mary Marsh
NSPCC

Lord Williams chaired the National Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse in 1996 and was at one time a trustee for the children's charity the NSPCC.

Chief executive Mary Marsh said: "Children have lost a wise and great champion for children".

"He campaigned long and hard for a commissioner for children and it is sad that he has died just when the government has proposed one in its new Green Paper."

A spokeswoman for the University of Wales, where Lord Williams had been Pro-Chancellor since 1995, also paid tribute.

"He was always an enthusiastic and steadfast supporter of the university, particularly of the Department of Law, and his loss will be very greatly felt."


SEE ALSO:
Lords reform 'by next election'
17 May 02  |  Politics
Blair's legal reforms under fire
14 Jun 03  |  Politics


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