UK Politics

Former Home Secretary Lord Waddington dies at age of 87

David Waddington speaking in 1990 Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Waddington was a popular figure in the Commons and then the Lords

Former Conservative Home Secretary Lord Waddington has died at the age of 87.

The barrister turned politician led the Home Office at the time of the poll tax riots and the Strangeways prison disturbances in the spring of 1990.

On the right of the party, he entered Parliament in a by-election in the 1960s and served as chief whip and other roles under Margaret Thatcher.

After leaving the House of Commons, he served as leader of the House of Lords and latterly as governor of Bermuda.

Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to Lord Waddington's "long and distinguished career in public service", saying he would be sadly missed.

"He combined the sharp intelligence of a Queen's Counsel with the wit of a proud Lancastrian," she said.

The Oxford-educated David Waddington served in the army in the 1950s before going into politics and first being elected to Parliament in 1968.

He represented a number of different seats in Lancashire between 1968 and 1974, when he lost his seat, and again between 1979 and 1990.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Waddington (back row, far left) was Margaret Thatcher's last home secretary
Image caption In later years, the peer became governor of Bermuda

After rising through the ministerial ranks, he became chief whip - in charge of party discipline - before succeeding Lord Hurd as home secretary in October 1989.

A supporter of capital punishment, he took a tougher line on law and order issues than his predecessor, piloting legislation through the Commons in 1990 to ensure serious criminals served longer sentences.

He stood down after John Major became prime minister in November 1990 and accepted a peerage soon afterwards.

He retired from the House of Lords in 2015.

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