UK Politics

In quotes: Reaction to Jeremy Thorpe's death

Politicians and commentators react to the news that former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe has died aged 85 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.


Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg

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"Jeremy Thorpe's leadership and resolve were the driving force that continued the Liberal revival that began under Jo Grimond. Jeremy oversaw some of the party's most famous by-election victories and his involvement with the anti-apartheid movement and the campaign for Britain's membership of the common market were ahead of his time."


Lord Steel of Aikwood, who succeeded Mr Thorpe as leader

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"He had a genuine sympathy for the underprivileged - whether in his beloved North Devon where his first campaign was for 'mains, drains and a little bit of light' or in Africa, where he was a resolute fighter against apartheid and became a respected friend of people like President Kaunda of Zambia."


Former Liberal Democrat minister Sir Nick Harvey, who represents Mr Thorpe's former constituency of North Devon

"Jeremy Thorpe was a colossal figure in the revival of the Liberal cause in post-war Britain and today's Lib Dem politicians continue to feast on his legacy. His charisma, energy and innovative campaigning lit up his generation of British politics. He was the first to embrace fully the television age, the first to hit the campaign trail in a helicopter and both the first and, rather memorably, the last to deploy a hovercraft.

"He would have shone in whatever walk of life he chose, but it was to the lasting benefit of Liberalism that he rejected the Conservatism of his ancestors and devoted himself to progressive causes at home and abroad. In North Devon he was a greatly loved champion of the community and is remembered with huge affection to this day."


Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell

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"Jeremy Thorpe's enforced resignation as leader of the Liberal Party and his subsequent departure from Parliament should not obscure the fact that in his day he was an outstanding parliamentarian with a coruscating wit, and a brilliant campaigner on the stump whose interest and warmth made him a firm favourite with the public."


Greg Hands, deputy government chief whip and Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham tweets:

"One of my earliest political memories was of Jeremy Thorpe arriving to campaign where I lived in Looe, on a hovercraft on the beach, 1974."


Michael Crick, political correspondent for Channel 4 News tweets:

"Jeremy Thorpe had been top TV reporter in '50s, early '60s for ITV's "This Week". Big intvs w Kenneth Kaunda, King Hussein, Hastings Banda"


Businessman Roland Rudd tweets:

"Jeremy Thorpe also remembered as incredible showman using hovercraft in campaign and photographed hurdling fence on eve of feb 74 election."

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