By Harry Phibbs
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The death of the Conservative peer Lord Maples has been announced.
Before standing down as an MP in 2010, John Maples was a Treasury minister in John Major's government and went on to be Shadow Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2000 during William Hague's leadership.
David Cameron appointed him Conservative deputy chairman with responsibility for candidates.
Maples was the MP for Stratford-on-Avon in the House of Commons from 1997 to 2010 and the MP for Lewisham West between 1983 and 1992.
The Prime Minister David Cameron says:
“John Maples was a tireless representative for the constituencies he represented over his long and distinguished political career, and one of the kindest and most compassionate politicians I have had the pleasure to work with.
“A loyal and determined Conservative, John played a key role as my Deputy Chairman for Candidates prior to the last election. He recognised the need to change and modernise our Party from an early time and, under his leadership, we selected – in some innovative ways – an unprecedented number of new and talented Parliamentary candidates, with nearly one hundred and fifty elected to the House of Commons two years ago. These Members represent the future of our Party – ensuring that, through their work, John’s legacy will live on for many years to come.
“He will be hugely missed by his many friends and colleagues from both within the Conservative Party, and from across the political divide. He was widely respected, and a mentor to many of those he helped realise their own ambition of public service. I remember John’s wise and friendly support when I first entered Parliament and, over the years since, I have been fortunate to be able to call John, not just a colleague, but a friend.
“My thoughts today are with John’s wife, Jane, and his whole family at this devastating time for them. John fought his cancer with typical courage and dignity. The end came all too soon, but at least his suffering is now over. His passing is a loss to the Conservative Party and to politics more generally.”
William Hague, Foreign Secretary and Former Party Leader says:
“I am deeply saddened to hear of John’s untimely death. He will be greatly missed by all his colleagues. As someone who worked closely with John I will remember him as a man of great integrity, kindness, humour and quiet distinction. I send my sincere condolences to his wife Jane, his son Tom, his daughter Rose and all his family at this sad time.”
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles says:
"It was my privilege to serve with John Maples at Conservative HQ while I was Party Chairman. John, along with Shireen Richie (who also sadly passed away this year) changed the face of the parliamentary party. The influx of new members particularly the bright women and new colleagues from black or Asian background transformed the Party to more reflect the best of Britain.
"The 2010 intake is rightly regarded as one of the best since the Second World War. John’s work as Deputy Chairman with responsibility for candidates during a crucial period secured the future of the Conservative Party. His many friends will miss him greatly."
Sayeeda Warsi, Conservative Party Co-Chairman adds:
“Conservative Party colleagues and I are devastated to hear of the tragic loss of Lord Maples. A Party stalwart, John served the people of Lewisham West and Stratford-upon-Avon as their MP for many years.
“As Deputy Chairman with responsibility for candidate selection, he was instrumental in the bringing about a historic increase in the number of women and minority MPs on the Conservative benches. It was a pleasure to work with him at party headquarters and I will remember him most for his dedication, his drive and his sense of fun.
“Our thoughts are with his wife, Jane, and their children.”