Lord Crickhowell, former Welsh Secretary, dies at the age of 84

Media caption,
As Welsh Secretary in the 1980s, Nicholas Edwards was a driver of economic change

Former Welsh Secretary Lord Crickhowell has died at the age of 84.

As Nicholas Edwards, he was elected MP for Pembrokeshire in 1970 and served in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet from 1979 to 1987 when he was granted a peerage.

In his eight years as Welsh secretary, he prioritised economic development and set up the corporation which later transformed Cardiff's waterfront with the building of a barrage.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he was "an inspiration" to him as a youngster.

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh Affairs editor

Nicholas Edwards was very much aware that the Conservatives did not have a majority in Wales and tried to pursue a policy which was less Thatcherite.

He favoured a much more interventionist economic policy and attracted big employers such as the electronic giant Sony.

Nicholas Edwards was very patrician but in some ways he did try to build consensus.

Don't forget he was the driving force behind building the Cardiff Bay barrage - a project which has transformed the capital of Wales.

It was a matter he was prepared to resign from Margaret Thatcher's government over following her early reluctance to back the scheme.

'Vision and tenacity'

Alun Cairns, the current Welsh secretary, said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Lord Crickhowell's death after a period of ill health.

"I only chatted to him by telephone just a few weeks ago where we recalled his time in office and the many challenges he faced," Mr Cairns said.

"We laughed at one of my early memories of him facing protests at the Eisteddfod with me watching from a distance as a schoolboy competing - it is one of my earliest and most vivid political memories.

"Lord Crickhowell was an inspiration to me from a very young age, looking on with admiration at the leadership he showed as Welsh Secretary.

"He was a politician of great repute, but importantly a great man and set the benchmark as Secretary of State for Wales."

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies also paid tribute, saying he was "a politician of real vision and tenacity".

"His most enduring legacy to Wales will be the transformation of Cardiff Bay - which to this day remains one of the most successful regeneration projects the country has seen."

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