A tribute to Sir Stuart Bell MP

Sir Stuart Bell MP passed away yesterday. One of his recent colleagues, Peter Botting, pays tribute

by Peter Botting on 14 October 2012 08:37

I first met Sir Stuart on the 27th October 2010, at 16:00 in Portcullis House.

There were 2 Labour Peers at the meeting, 2 Labour MPs, Sir Stuart’s parliamentary aide Madeleine, Matthew Elliott and myself.

We wanted a cross-party alliance to win NO2AV between the Conservatives and the Labour parliamentarians and CLPs. It was the first step for Sir Stuart and the Labour Party getting on board NO2AV.

There was a great deal of trust that needed to built and bridges to be crossed.  It was the birth of an highly unusual and very powerful alliance which saw Lord John Reid sharing a platform with David Cameron in Westminster and leading Conservatives and Labour politicians being Patrons of the same organisation.

Sir Stuart and the others at that meeting played key and hugely important roles in the birth of that alliance.

Stuart was very kind, great fun and always had a mischievous glint in his eyes. He enjoyed doorstepping Labour colleagues – often with me in tow – and asking them whether they were on board on NO2AV.

It was in a crowded, small lift in Portcullis House that, accompanied by me, he asked Gordon Brown if he would support us on NO2AV. Gordon Brown could not wait for the lift to stop to escape from Stuart’s mischievous smiling question that hung in the air.

Few people will have been awarded a British Knighthood and a Legion d’Honneur by the French President. Even fewer will have been the son of a miner. 

Sir Stuart Bell MP died yesterday. I was a fan of his. He was Labour – I am Conservative.

Sir Stuart Bell MP – RIP.

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