Lib Dem and Labour peers tributes to Lord Strathclyde

Lord Strathclyde Lord Strathclyde, a Conservative hereditary peer, is a former insurance broker

Tributes have been paid to Lord Strathclyde by peers - with Lib Dems laughing off suggestions they were the reason he resigned as Lords leader.

Deputy Lords leader Lord McNally said there had been "no more harmonious meetings" than Lord Strathclyde's "regular pep-talks" to Lib Dems.

Labour leader in the Lords, Baroness Royall, called him a "a highly capable political operator".

Lord Strathclyde stepped down from the cabinet job on Monday.

He said he was going voluntarily at the age of 52, while he still had time to pursue a second career in business.

His departure, which was discussed with David Cameron over the festive break, came as a surprise after 25 years on the front bench for the Conservatives.

'Loyal'

It also followed a recent increase in tensions in the Lords, with some Lib Dem peers voting to inflict defeats on the coalition.

In a Channel 4 interview on Monday, Lord Strathclyde admitted that frustration at these rebellions had at times led him to complain the coalition was "broken".

But he insisted that, overall, the power-sharing deal had been a success.

During tributes in Parliament, Lord McNally, the Lib Dems' leader in the Lords, joked that despite "outrageous" suggestions to the contrary: "The truth is we have worked closely together for the last eight years."

He said the Leader of the Lords had two roles - to lead his party and get government business through the House as well as being the guardian of the House as a whole.

"I believe Lord Strathclyde has fulfilled that second role with consummate skill," he said.

Lady Royall said: "He has always been a straight dealer and a man of his word."

Lady Royall said his successor, Lord Hill, had a "very hard act to follow", adding that Lord Strathclyde had enjoyed a "long and distinguished political career" and that she was "staggered by" his tenacity.

"He has served his beloved Conservative Party well and loyally, served in his public duties the people of this country well and loyally and he has served this House well and loyally."

Lord Hill praised Lord Strathclyde's "great dedication" to the House and "remarkable quarter century" of frontbench service.

"Since the general election he has steered the House with great skill through some unusual and testing times with the establishment of a coalition government for the first time since the Second World War."

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