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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 15:40 GMT

UK Politics

Peer dies after Lords result

Lord Montague of Oxford, who has died aged 67

A Labour life peer has died after collapsing in the House of Lords following the announcement of the results of the hereditary peers' election.

Lord Montague of Oxford slumped forward in his seat, gashing his head on the bench in front.

Peers - including GP Lord Rea - rushed to the aid of the 67-year-old businessman and he was taken to the nearby St Thomas's Hospital.

He is reported to have been dead on arrival.

Around half an hour earlier Lord Montague had spoken in a debate on energy.

Major donor to Labour

Created a life peer in 1997, Lord Montague, was a former member of the Millennium Commission, ex-chairman of the English Tourist Board and a director of Jarvis Hotels, Planet Hollywood and Orlando.

Before becoming a peer, he was a major donor to the Labour Party and his elevation less than four months after the general election, was dubbed by the Conservatives an example of "cash for coronets".

Born Michael Jacob Montague on March 10, 1932, he was educated at High Wycombe Royal Grammar School and Magdalen College School, Oxford.

Entrepreneur and public figure

Lord Montague founded his own electrical firm, Gatehill Beco Ltd at the age of 21.

It was bought out a year later by a company called Valor after his first million-dollar order from the United States. He became chairman of Valor.

He once said: "The British salesman should get out there and shout as loud as he can that he has a good product to sell. If he has confidence the orders will come."

Lord Montague served as chairman of a number of trade associations. And was a member of the West Midlands Aviation Advisory Committee, the Wilson Committee on Immigration Appeals, and the Kent Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants.

He was awarded the CBE in 1970 in recognition of his services as chairman of the National Export Council for Asia from 1965 to 1971. He was unmarried.

'Quiet authority'

Baroness Jay, the Leader of the House of Lords, paid tribute to Lord Montague.

"Michael Montague was a very wise man who made an enormously valuable contribution to the success of the Labour party, and to Government in the House of Lords," she said.

"We will all miss his quiet authority and warm friendship."

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