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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK

UK Politics

Thatcher leads Clark tributes

Alan Clark: 'A Tory to his fingertips' says Lady Thatcher

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher and Tory leader William Hague have led tributes to Alan Clark MP, whose death has been announced.

Lady Thatcher described the late MP, who served in her government, as "a doughty parliamentarian, an accomplished historian and a Tory to his fingertips".

She added: "Politics is poorer and the world duller with his passing."

Her successor as prime minister, John Major, described the former minister as "totally original - amusing, outrageous, occasionally shocking and never run-of-the-mill."

[ image: William Hague says Mr Clark was a model parliamentarian]
William Hague says Mr Clark was a model parliamentarian

William Hague remembers Alan Clark
Mr Hague said Mr Clark would be remembered for his wit, intelligence, originality and readiness to say what he thought.

"He was a good minister in the Thatcher and Major governments, a great historian, a real talent."

Speaking on a visit to a school in Mr Clark's Kensington and Chelsea constituency, Mr Hague added: "He will be missed in the House because he played a part as an MP, he was a House of Commons man.

"He knew it was his role as a backbencher to ask the questions that needed to be asked."

Mr Hague said his thoughts were with Mr Clark's family and friends.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has led the tributes from other parties.

"He was a complete one-off and, above all, his own man. We will all miss him," he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the MP had been "not just a colourful political personality, but also as one of the outstanding diarists of his generation."

Lord Lamont remembers Alan Clark
Former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont characterised Mr Clark as "the most politically incorrect, outspoken, iconoclastic and reckless politician of our times.

"In a world dominated by spin and fudge, Alan was a breath of fresh air."

'He refused to be dull'

Another senior Conservative, Lord Tebbit, under whom Mr Clark first served as a minister, said the veteran MP "had a charm and a style of his own".

[ image:  ]
He said: "Although he was serious about politics and believed passionately about many things he refused to be dull about it."

Sir Malcolm Rifkind remembers Alan Clark
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said Mr Clark would be principally remembered for his writing not his ministerial career.

The former Tory defence secretary said: "His extraordinary diaries that were published which will be read years after most political memoirs have been consigned to the dusty shelves."

"Secondly and perhaps less well known is that he was a serious military historian.

"He published a number of very impressive books on both the first and second world wars analysing the military side of these affairs. And they have been very widely praised."

'Eloquent voice for animals'

Tony Benn remembers Alan Clark
Mr Clark has also been fondly remembered by those who he worked with in his role as a keen campaigner for animal rights.

Mark Glover, Campaigns Director of Respect for Animals said that Mr Clark was "one of Britain's most courageous and hard-working defenders of animals and their welfare".

[ image: Mr Clark had backed moves to end fur farming]
Mr Clark had backed moves to end fur farming
He added: "Mr Clark was a fierce opponent of the fur trade.

"More recently he was a great help to us in persuading the cross-channel ferry companies to stop carrying animals for live export.

"Earlier this year he was a co-sponsor of a Private Member's Bill to ban fur farming - something that particularly outraged him.

"His vibrant, eloquent voice in the campaign to honour and respect the rights of animals has been stilled, but we will continue to fight his fight."

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