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Tributes to Tory ‘giant’ Nigel Lawson after his death

File photo dated 13/10/88 of Nigel Lawson, applauded by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at the end of his speech during the Conservative Party's annual conference in Brighton. The Conservative former chancellor has died at the age of 91. Photo by PA

By Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

Tributes have been paid to Conservative former chancellor Nigel Lawson after his death at the age of 91.

Rishi Sunak described the party grandee and leading Brexiteer as an “inspiration” and Boris Johnson marked him as a “giant” of Tory politics.

The former MP served as Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor from 1983 until his resignation in 1989, before sitting in the House of Lords as Baron Lawson of Blaby until his retirement in December.

Having been editor of influential right-wing magazine The Spectator, he entered the Commons in 1974 as the representative for Blaby in Leicestershire and stayed there until 1992.

Mr Sunak, himself a former chancellor, said Lord Lawson was a “transformational chancellor and an inspiration to me and many others”.

Mr Johnson described him as a “fearless and original flame of free market Conservatism”.

“He was a tax-cutter and simplifier who helped transform the economic landscape and helped millions of British people achieve their dreams,” the former prime minister added.

“He was a prophet of Brexit and a lover of continental Europe. He was a giant. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Lord Lawson, who also worked on the Financial Times and the Sunday Telegraph, had six children, including celebrity cook and food writer Nigella and journalist Dominic.

The Telegraph first reported his death and his family are yet to comment.

Conservative former prime minister David Cameron said Lord Lawson will be “greatly missed”.

“Nigel Lawson was a giant of British politics, right in the heart of the engine room of Margaret Thatcher’s great reforms – and providing so much of the intellectual backing for what needed to be done at the end of the 1970s,” he said.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “Nigel Lawson was a rarity amongst politicians, someone who transformed our thinking as well as transforming our economy.

“Since he stepped down as chancellor his shoes have been impossible to fill but he inspired all his successors, leaving the country more prosperous & enterprising.”

Lord Lawson helped transform Britain while serving in the Thatcher government, slashing personal taxation.

His resignation in 1989 after rows over Europe and economic policy marked the early stages of her downfall a year later.

He chaired the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the 2016 EU referendum but faced allegations of hypocrisy after applying for a French residency card.

He also faced criticism for being a denier of the climate crisis.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “A true statesman. His contributions to this nation will not be forgotten.”

Former prime minister Liz Truss said: “Incredibly sad to hear of the death of Nigel Lawson. A true giant of 20th century politics who as Chancellor famously sought to abolish at least one tax at every Budget.

“His time at the helm of the Treasury was transformational.”

Tory party chairman Greg Hands said Lord Lawson “will be remembered for his clarity of thinking, commitment to free market economics & willingness to challenge orthodoxies”.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid said: “Very saddened to hear this. One of Britain’s greatest public servants, especially as Chancellor.”

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