Hereford & Worcester

Former minister Lord Walker of Worcester dies aged 78

Lord Walker of Worcester
Image caption Lord Walker was Energy Secretary during the miners strike in 1984

Conservative peer Lord Peter Walker of Worcester has died from cancer at the age of 78.

The former energy secretary and Welsh secretary died at the city's St Richard's Hospice.

Lord Walker was MP for Worcester from 1961 to 1992. His son Robin won the seat for the Tories last month.

He was Environment Secretary and Trade and Industry Secretary under Edward Heath, and Energy Secretary and Welsh Secretary under Margaret Thatcher.

Lord Walker was appointed a life peer after retiring as an MP in 1992.

'True patriot'

In a statement, Lord Walker's family said: "As a politician, he always believed in the importance of helping those most in need, combining efficiency with compassion.

"He was a true one-nation Conservative and a patriot. His great personal compassion was always reflected in his private life."

Wales Office Minister David Jones paid tribute to Lord Walker during Wales Questions in the House of Commons, describing him as "a true friend of Wales".

The current Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan said her thoughts were with the family of Lord Walker, a sentiment echoed by Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary leader, Elfyn Llwyd.

Image caption Lord Walker served in the government of Sir Edward Heath

Lord Walker entered Parliament in 1961 and two years later was made parliamentary private secretary to the then leader of the Commons, Selwyn Lloyd.

He was regarded as a close ally of Mr Heath, who brought him into the cabinet in 1970 as environment secretary - making him the first environment minister anywhere in the world.

Mrs Thatcher made him agriculture minister following her 1979 General Election victory.

In 1983 she made him energy secretary, giving him a frontline role in combating the miners' strike of 1984 to 1985.

In 1987 he was moved to Welsh secretary - a post he held until 1990, when he finally bowed out of government.

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