Tory peer Cecil Parkinson Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Cecil Parkinson has died after a long battle with cancer, his family have said.
The Tory peer, who served in several roles in Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, was 84. A family spokesman said: “Cecil passed away on January 22 after a long battle with cancer.
We shall miss him enormously. As a family, we should like to pay tribute to him as a beloved husband to Ann and brother to Norma, and a supportive and loving father to Mary, Emma and Joanna and grandfather to their children.
We also salute his extraordinary commitment to British public life as a member of parliament, cabinet minister and peer – together with a distinguished career in business.
The Conservative grandee, whose full title was Lord Parkinson of Carnforth, was chairman of the Tory Party twice.
But he is possibly best remembers for the scandal that marred his spectacular Cabinet-rank political career – his affair with Sara Keays, his one-time secretary.
Mrs Thatcher was reluctantly compelled to return him to the back benches in 1983 only months after he had masterminded the Conservatives’ victory in that year.
Ms Keays, who bore Mr Parkinson’s daughter Flora, repeatedly claimed that he had gone back on a promise to leave his own wife and marry her.