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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 16:20 GMT
Alan Clark celebrated at memorial service

Jane Clark Jane Clark arrives for the service


Friends, family and political colleagues have gathered to celebrate the life and career of colourful Conservative MP Alan Clark at a memorial service in Westminster.

alan clark Alan Clark: Colourful and controversial
More than 450 friends of the former minister joined MPs for the service at St Margaret's Church, opposite the Houses of Parliament, on Tuesday.

The Kensington and Chelsea MP - whose revealing diaries detailing the final days of the Thatcher government were a publishing sensation - died last September from a brain tumour.

The guest list at the service was headed by Mr Clark's widow Jane and his two sons, James and Andrew.

Tory leader William Hague, several shadow cabinet members and former ministers, and Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd also attended, along with 90 MPs, 54 peers, more than a dozen dignitaries and 470 friends.


There has never been in my life anyone more sparkling and stimulating than Alan
Euan Graham
Michael Portillo, Mr Clark's parliamentary successor, Tory Party chairman Michael Ancram and shadow cabinet members Iain Duncan Smith and Angela Browning were among the congregation, along with SDP founder Lord Owen and Labour MPs George Galloway and Tam Dalyell.

Sir Denis Thatcher represented Lady Thatcher, who is overseas.

The 50-minute service featured hymns and readings, including work by Wilfred Owen and A E Housman.

William Hague was one of many MPs to attend the service
Mr Clark's close friend Euan Graham told how they had met in 1948 when Mr Clark had asked him to drive his Buick convertible.

Mr Graham said, to laughter: "Alan had lost his driving licence for letting a girl drive his car sitting on his lap while he controlled the peddles."

Conversations between them always ended with them breaking into laughter, he said, adding: "There has never been in my life anyone more sparkling and stimulating than Alan."

The Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of The Rt Hon Alan Kenneth McKenzie Clark, MP was concluded with a bagpipe refrain.

Mr Clark courted controversy throughout his career, including a drunken appearance at the Commons despatch box and the naming of a dog after Hitler's mistress Eva Braun.

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See also:
08 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
Alan Clark: Politician and diarist
07 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
Alan Clark - a unique politician
07 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
Alan Clark's life in quotes
07 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
Tory MP Alan Clark dies

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