A kind and courteous man

Lord Elliott of Morpeth.
Lord Elliott of Morpeth.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Morpeth politician who died last Friday, aged 90.

Lord Elliott of Morpeth was a Conservative MP for 26 years and joined the House of Lords in 1985, winning respect from all sides for his passion for the North East.

Robert William Elliott was born in 1920 and attended the town’s King Edward VI Grammar School before becoming a farmer at Low Heighley.

His father, Richard Elliott, was a former councillor and Mayor of Morpeth and William decided to also go into politics.

By 1954 he was the Tory candidate for the Parliamentary seat of Morpeth in a by-election and he fought it again a year later – both times it was won by Labour.

But he did become an MP after winning a by-election for the Newcastle North seat in 1957.

Seven years later he was appointed an opposition whip and he became a Government whip when the Conservatives regained power in 1970, as well as Vice Chairman of the party.

Lord Elliott was knighted in 1974 and became a Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland in 1982.

After leaving the Commons a year later when his seat disappeared in boundary changes, in 1985 he was made a life peer as Baron Elliott of Morpeth and he was Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords from 1992 to 2002.

Coun Glen Sanderson, Deputy Leader of the Conservative group at Northumberland County Council, said he knew the man from an early age as Lord Elliott became great friends with his father in his farming days.

He added: “He gave me great encouragement to think about a political career and he really was a driving force in me standing for the Wansbeck seat in 1992 as well as my career generally.

“He was an example for the ideal politician – someone who was very clear and determined about achieving outcomes for local people.

“He had a charming manner and was well liked by everyone he came across. He was a huge credit to the area and the Conservative party.”

Conservative Leader on the authority Peter Jackson said: “Lord Elliott was in high level politics for many years and during this time still managed to work hard for the region and maintain his roots with Northumberland.”

Sir Alan Beith, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, said: “Bill Elliott had a lifelong commitment to the North East and was a kind and courteous man who won many friends, including many who respected him while holding very different political views.”

Lord Elliott leaves a wife, Jane, with whom he had a son and four daughters.