Friday, 18 April 2008

Gwyneth Dunwoody (1930-2008)

I am very saddened to learn of the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody. She is probably the most effective backbencher of her generation. Awkward, sure, brilliant, yes. She was a formidable combination of intelligence, humour, and persistence with razor-sharp interrogation skills.

A few years back, I worked on a consumer protection campaign that Gwyneth was very supportive of. She did everything within her powers to help the campaign including holding a select committee inquiry into the issue. But I have to say that she did make an awful cup of tea (I think maybe I wasn't supposed to accept the offer....) I was hoping to quietly leave the milkiest tea you can possibly imagine. But no, Gwyneth spotted what I was up to and forced me to drink every drop.

Anyway, I fear that Gwyneth's tribe of individual but brilliant backbenchers are becoming few. I sincerely hope not as we need them desperately.

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