Tory ex-home secretary Lord Waddington dies at 87

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Conservative former home secretary and governor of Bermuda Lord Waddington has died at the age of 87.

As David Waddington, he served as home secretary in the final year of Margaret Thatcher's premiership from 1989-90.

He delighted the Tory faithful with his support for capital punishment, but was also responsible for the decision to send the case of the Birmingham Six to the Court of Appeal, where their convictions for IRA pub bombings were eventually quashed.

As a barrister, he was defence counsel in the trial of Stefan Kiszko, who served 16 years in jail before his wrongful conviction for the murder of 12-year-old Lesley Molseed was overturned.

He was elevated to the peerage by John Major, and served in his government as Leader of the Lords from 1990 to 1992, when he was appointed governor of Bermuda.

A party source said he died on Thursday evening.

He is survived by wife Gillian, with whom he had three sons and two daughters.

 

After education at Oxford, Lord Waddington served in the Royal Lancers, achieving the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, before taking up a legal career. He was called to the Bar in 1951 and made a QC in 1971.

He was elected Tory MP for Nelson and Colne in 1968, after three failed attempts. He lost his seat in 1974 and came back in as MP for Clitheroe in 1979 and later Ribble Valley from 1983-90, gaining a reputation as a hard-line, no-nonsense right-winger.

He joined the Thatcher government as a whip in 1979, later serving as a junior minister in the Department of Employment and Home Office and becoming chief whip in 1987.

He succeeded Douglas Hurd as home secretary and led the Home Office at the time of the poll tax riots and the Strangeways prison disturbances in the spring of 1990.

After Lady Thatcher's removal from office he was created a life peer in 1990 as Baron Waddington of Read in the County of Lancashire. He retired from the House of Lords in 2015.

In 2008, he successfully introduced what became known as the Waddington Amendment to protect "the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices" from being covered by legislation outlawing hate crime on grounds of sexual orientation.