“Leon Brittan was a dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant. As a central figurein Margaret Thatcher’s government, he helped her transform our country for the better by giving distinguished service as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He went on to play a leading role at the European Commission where he did so much to promote free trade in Europe and across the world. More recently, he made an active contribution to the House of Lords. My thoughts are with Leon’s family and friends at this sad time.”
He would have been fully briefed before giving this statement…
UPDATE: It took Clegg four hours to release his statement:
“Leon was one of the most intelligent figures in modern British public life.
When I worked for Leon in Brussels almost 20 years ago, his forensic understanding of detailed issues combined with his passionate belief in internationalism was evident to everyone.
His courage in sticking up for his pro-European views, despite huge pressure to the contrary, never wavered.
His intellectual curiosity about politics; the arts; history; and literature was encyclopedic. Even as illness affected him badly in recent years, he kept up his lifelong habit of reading a constant flow of books on a huge range of subjects.
My heart goes out to Diana Brittan and Leon’s family at this very sad time.”