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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 19:36 GMT
Tribute paid to 'Gentleman George'
George Younger
George Younger was MP for Ayr
The death of former Tory cabinet minister Lord Younger has prompted tributes from across the political spectrum.

Gentleman George, as he was known by many, was described as "a politician of integrity and impeccable manner" by Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell said that the respect for the former Ayr MP "crossed political boundaries".

The death of George Younger is a sad loss both to the banking industry and to his public service

Edward Heath
And he was described as "of one of the most significant Scots of his generation" by Scottish National Party leader John Swinney.

Lord Younger, who had been suffering from cancer, died at the age of 71.

He was a former secretary of state for both Scotland and defence before going on to make his mark in the world of banking.

He made a life peer in 1992, becoming Lord Younger of Prestwick, then subsequently inherited the hereditary Viscountcy of Younger of Leckie on the death of his father in 1997.

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the news came as "a heavy blow for all those who knew and admired him".

Important part

"The country has lost a tremendous, loyal servant and there will be huge sadness in the Conservative Party," he said.

"George Younger was in the front line of British politics, bravely arguing for strong defence and the nuclear deterrent and as a result he played an important part in the demise of the Soviet Union."

Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath said: "The death of George Younger is a sad loss both to the banking industry and to his public service.

He will be sadly missed by his family, but he will always have a place in Scotland's history

Jack McConnell
First Minister
"In the House he played a notable part for the Conservative Party over many years. He was a splendid example to his colleagues."

Tory peer Lord Tebbit said: "He was the most convivial and good-natured man in politics, far more likely to have a good word, rather than a bad word, for either colleagues or opponents."

Mr Kennedy said: "George Younger was a politician of integrity and impeccable manner.

"He was a traditional Tory player who never found fault with anyone. He will be sorely missed."

Labour MP Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, commented: "When I visited him in November, no man could have been braver or more resilient about his fate. But then he was brave and resilient in everything he did."

'No enemies'

His Labour colleague George Foulkes, a former Scottish Office Minister, said: "This is very sad news.

"He was one of the nicest politicians as well as being very able. He was one of the few people who managed to hold two high offices and still make no enemies at all.

"He came from an aristocratic background but got on well with people from all backgrounds.

"When he was Scottish Secretary, he managed to insulate Scotland from some of the worst features of Thatcherism, although he was one of the architects of the poll tax."

The sobriquet 'Gentleman George' perfectly captured his charm and style

Sir George Mathewson
Royal Bank of Scotland chairman
Mr McConnell said: "Respect for George Younger crossed political boundaries.

"He was a fine Secretary of State, fought Scotland's corner in the UK Government and he always conducted himself in a way which built respect, admiration and friendship.

"He will be sadly missed by his family, but he will always have a place in Scotland's history."

Mr Swinney said: "George Younger was a very distinguished and long serving figure in Scottish politics, who used the position of Secretary of State to temper the early and harshest policies of the Thatcher government.

"He was always a genuine and courteous politician and I extend my sympathies, and those of the SNP, to his family on the loss of one of the most significant Scots of his generation."

Natural leader

Lord Younger joined the Royal Bank of Scotland when he quit the cabinet in 1989, quickly becoming group chairman.

Present chairman Sir George Mathewson described him as "a natural leader who inspired loyalty and warmth among his colleagues".

"As in everything else he did during his business and political career, the sobriquet, 'Gentleman George' perfectly captured his charm and style.

"But underlying this was a core of strength, integrity and courage which will be recognised by many."

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  The BBC's Carolyn Quinn
"He was a well-regarded, high-ranking Conservative"
See also:

26 Jan 03 | Scotland
26 Jan 03 | Scotland
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