Very sad news of the death Sir Simon Milton, the deputy Mayor of London and former Westminster Council leader, at the age of only 49.

Boris Johnson has written the following tribute:

In Simon Milton London has lost a brilliant public servant and one of the nicest and cleverest men in politics. We in City Hall have lost a wonderful colleague and friend.

 It is hard to think of anyone in politics who commanded such universal respect and admiration from people of all parties.

 He was instrumental in drawing up the new London Plan and in securing the budgets for Crossrail, the Tube upgrades, and many other projects for the benefit of the city he loved.

 It feels very hard and strange to be saying all this now about someone who was so young, and who still had so much to offer.

His political origins were essentially Thatcherite. He grew up with the struggles of his family's patisserie business, and he once described his anger at seeing the impact of high taxation on the business, and on his father's health.

 But as leader of Westminster Council and at City Hall he developed a broader and more generous understanding of how the leaders of a great city should bring people together, and how a low-tax administration could work for the benefit of the poorest and neediest.

He could magic tens of millions from the flintiest developers, to pay for more affordable housing. He had the tact to persuade world-famous architects to lop many storeys off their latest proposals, for the sake of protecting London's views, and without unduly ruffling their feathers.

 He was warm and kind, and also possessed of a first-rate logical brain, as you could tell if you watched the metronomic efficiency with which he would simultaneously carry out a conversation and fill in the most difficult Sudoku puzzle in the Times.

We always knew that we were lucky to have him in City Hall, in the sense that 12 years ago he had survived a serious bout of leukaemia, and was always operating with greatly reduced lung capacity.

It was a testament to his skill and mental energy that few who met him were aware of the underlying frailty of his condition.

He was above all a very funny man, an ironist who never failed to see the comedy of whatever might be happening. He and I were once watching some unfortunate footage of me falling into a river in Catford.

Simon turned and said: "I've got the Standard their headline. River Crisis – Mayor Steps In."

He will be much missed. Our thoughts today are with his much-loved partner Robert, his mother, Ruth, and his sister, Lisa."

> Read other tributes on Gazette.

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