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Ex-Speaker had many Kent connections

LORD WEATHERILL: the last Speaker to conduct business in a wig
LORD WEATHERILL: the last Speaker to conduct business in a wig

THE former Speaker of the House of Commons, Lord Weatherill, who lived in Kent for some years, has died at the age of 86.

Lord Weatherill, who served as Speaker from 1983 to 1992, was a patron of the Maidstone Millennium River Walk project, vice-president of Kent Youth and president of the appeal to expand Kenward House, the Yalding base of the Kenward Trust charity to help people with drug and alcohol dependancies.

He died in a hospice in Caterham, Surrey, last Sunday after a short illness. He and his wife Lyn, Lady Weatherill, spent some years living at Emmet's House, Sevenoaks.

Bernard Weatherill was Conservative MP for Croydon North East from 1964 until his retirement in 1992.

He was the last Speaker to conduct business in a wig, saying it allowed him to hear selectively. He oversaw the introduction of television cameras into the chamber.

It was said he always kept a thimble on him to remind him of his early days working for his family's tailoring business.

His private papers, kept at the University of Kent in Canterbury, are said to reveal a series of clashes with Margaret Thatcher's government.

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