Political commentator Anthony Howard dies

Anthony Howard in 2001

Political journalist and commentator Anthony Howard has died after a short illness, his family says.

The 76-year-old former editor of the New Statesman worked for newspapers including The Times and Guardian, and appeared on TV as a Westminster pundit.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Howard's "eloquence, wit and beliefs straddled 50 years of our history".

His death had robbed the country of "one of its best informed and talented commentators", David Cameron said.

The prime minister said he had been "saddened" to hear the news.

Made a CBE in 1997, Howard edited the diaries of former Labour cabinet minister Richard Crossman, and wrote biographies of Mr Crossman and Conservative chancellor and home secretary "Rab" Butler.

Mr Cameron said: "His work on the Crossman diaries was ground-breaking and his biography of Rab was superb. He will be greatly missed."

Former deputy PM Lord Heseltine said Howard "had an encyclopaedic knowledge of contemporary British politics".

Lord Heseltine, who had known Howard since they attended Oxford University together in the 1950s, said: "It is a terrible shock. Tony was one of my oldest friends.

Start Quote

Anthony Howard was not just a distinguished political commentator, but someone who conveyed the excitement and importance of the events on which he was commenting”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

"He was a very kind and warm-hearted person with a deep, deep compassion."

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Anthony Howard was not just a distinguished political commentator, but someone who conveyed the excitement and importance of the events on which he was commenting."

Labour MP John McDonnell described Howard as "vastly knowledgeable" and "gifted".

And on Twitter, Daniel Finkelstein of the Times said he had been "a brilliant editor and commentator too".

Howard was known for roles on the BBC's Panorama and Newsnight. He also hosted Face the Press on Channel 4 and The Editors on Sky News, and appeared on BBC radio.

His views were much in demand during this year's and previous general elections.

Thank you for sending us your memories of Anthony Howard. You can read a selection below:

I had a rare 'reverse' honour of interviewing Tony Howard in 1987 for a university thesis on Rab Butler. We met in a House of Commons bar (of course) and I found him to be an utterly fascinating and absorbing man with a passion for the historic legacy that great men and women leave behind. I got a straight A for that thesis - and have no doubt that his legacy will survive longer than most of the politicians round about him.

Scott, Balerno, Midlothian

I worked with Tony a lot in the 90s on films for Newsnight whilst on their editing team. Although I was not anything of a political expert, I enjoyed our conversations tremendously for his humour and patience. He was always willing to take the time to explain complex stories and always had a friendly "hello" when encountered in the corridors of Television Centre. A true gentleman. RIP.

Nic Robinson, Derby

Anthony Howard was a decent and honourable man. One of the few political journalists around who actually talked any sense. It's a great shame those who are left (and the ones up and coming) don't come anywhere near.

Shaun Crowther, Barnoldswick, UK

When my first book was published I rang Anthony Howard out of the blue. He said that if I could get a copy to him within the next hour, he would read it over the weekend and write a review of it in the Times. I found a fast enough courier and Anthony was as good as his word. He also wrote a handwritten letter of encouragement to me afterwards. What more could a first-time author possibly want?

Alun Wyburn-Powell, Leamington Spa, UK

I read many of his articles and they were by far the most honest and most gripping as well as the most sensible published. The articles written by him really got me interested in politics to begin with and he will be greatly missed. When I was on a parliamentary visit I saw Anthony around. I didn't speak with him for that longer period of time but he seemed a respectful polite person he really inspired me about politics and showed me the importance of politics and voting.

Rhiannon Owen, Milton Keynes

Anthony Howard really brought politics alive for me. I will miss his wisdom.

Stephen Hurley, Tooting, London

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