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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 August 2005, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
In quotes: Robin Cook tributes
Scottish politicians are among the dozens of people to pay tribute to the late cabinet minister Robin Cook who died while hill walking in the Highlands.

SCOTTISH SECRETARY ALISTAIR DARLING

I have known Robin for 30 years, he was my predecessor as MP for Edinburgh Central and a neighbour as well as a colleague.

He was one of the outstanding parliamentarians of his generation and his contribution both in and out of government was enormous.

I shall always remember Robin as a warm and witty companion. Scotland has lost one of its finest parliamentarians.

CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER GORDON BROWN

Robin's mastery of the House of Commons was acknowledged on all sides and his incisive mind, forensic skills and formidable and wide ranging debating prowess were seen by the public very clearly.

When in opposition he led the response to the Scott Inquiry and when in government he became a great reforming leader of the House of Commons.

His books and articles as well as his speeches confirmed him as a singular political talent - a colleague whose sharp analysis and shrewd tactical sense were matched by great insight and political courage.

All of us recognised that his disagreements over Iraq arose from principle.

LABOUR PARTY CHAIRMAN IAN McCARTNEY

Robin was a good friend, a highly respected politician and a great servant of the Labour Party.

The thoughts of Labour Party members will be with his family at this very sad time.

WILLIE DUNN, CHAIRMAN OF THE LIVINGSTON CONSTITUENCY LABOUR PARTY

Robin will be sorely missed in the constituency as well as a quality politician in parliament.

He always fought on behalf of local people no matter what elevated office he was in.

LORD ROBERTSON, FORMER NATO SECRETARY GENERAL

Robin was a formidable politician who firmly stamped his identity on British politics.

In the confrontation with Saddam in 1998 and in saving Kosovo from Milosevic the following year, we led difficult and controversial campaigns to do what was right and necessary.

He was admired and respected by his friends and feared by his opponents and leaves a big gap in British and international political life.

MARGARET COOK, ROBIN COOK'S EX-WIFE

He was so young and had so much to offer.

In these troubled political times he was a heavyweight on the right side, not least on the war in Iraq.

He was an absolute brilliant, gold standard, in opposition.

He just knew how to do the background work and was a brilliant orator.

The Scott Report was his top point in his career and he totally confounded the government of the day.

I don't think he handled power well because of the necessary conflicts and deviations with his own essential personality and ethical style.

BRIAN WILSON, FORMER LABOUR MP FOR CUNNINGHAME NORTH

I think he was an absolutely top rank politician. He will be best remembered for his parliamentary performances, that was where he was at his peak.

In a way he was an unlikely figure to be able to command the House in the way he did, it wasn't by physical presence, not even by voice it was by force of intellect and force of debating power and there are very few in modern politics who would fit that description.

An important thing in all of the national tributes is that he was an absolutely first class MP and before that an absolutely first class councillor.




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